EDITORIAL: What he can and cannot do



THERE is no Superman in government service, or in any human enterprise for that matter. Our city mayor or provincial governor can only do so much. His sweat, blood, and tears to our calculation only comprise one third of all the efforts needed to run the government or manage a community to make it a better place to live in. The other third belongs to his co-workers, specifically his department heads, unit chiefs, and the whole manpower resource of the civil service within city hall or the provincial capitol, including the street sweepers and traffic enforcers, and those that do the ground works for various programs and projects that address the need of the community as a whole. The last third, of course, belongs to the people, who give feedback, volunteer their participation in community affairs, and practice their responsibilities as taxpayers and member-citizens. In the end, they will tell you whether things are getting brighter or turning sad and that something ought to be done, lest there will be need to replace him with a more efficient and dynamic leader when the next election comes.

Given these premises, the chief executive as the father of the community needs the support and cooperation of his constituents and that he can only do so much within the purview of our existing laws and rules in governance and the duties and responsibilities attached to his post.

As the occupant of the highest elective position in the city or town, the mayor heads the executive branch and has jurisdiction over all national government agencies in his city or town. He implements all city ordinances and other applicable national laws and statutes. He ensures that all employees in city or town hall have varied work targets over a period of time. He also ensures that barangay chairpersons are doing their jobs as prescribed by law.

The mayor further ensures that law enforcement agencies are effectively maintaining law and order and sustaining a peaceful and safe environment for the whole citizenry. As resource mobilizer and user, the mayor ensures that the local government is able to access and generate the necessary financial and other resources to implement the city’s development agenda. He makes sure that all resources, including the mandated Internal Revenue Allotment, are used for general welfare.

Given these powers, there are also things that he cannot do. The mayor does not have direct power and authority over the nature of work and personnel of the Sangguniang Panglunsod or city legislative council, the court, and independent constitutional bodies.

He cannot exercise the power of eminent domain in the absence of an ordinance, nor enter into contracts without prior authorization by the Sanggunian. He cannot veto an ordinance or resolution more than once. He, too, cannot appoint heads of offices and departments without the concurrence of the majority of the Sanggunian.

He cannot practice his profession or engage in any occupation other than the exercise of his functions as local chief executive.

The actions of the mayor are also subject to the following bureaucratic requirements:

• His development priorities can only be funded and implemented upon approval of the Sangguniang Panglunsod.

• Expenditures of the city government are subject to the rules and regulations of the Commission on Audit.

• Personnel appointments are subject to Civil Service rules and regulations.