Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista has asked the Department of Finance (DoF) to relieve city treasurer Edgar Villanueva for flaunting the perks of a lavish lifestyle from signature clothes to a fleet of luxury vehicles.
In a letter obtained by The Manila Times dated May 6 and received by the office of DoF Secretary Cesar Purisima on May 8, the Mayor even recommended Basilia Pacis, an Assistant Department Head III employee to replace Villanueva and be designated as Office-in-Charge of the city’s Treasury Department.
“She enjoys the trust and confidence of this humble representation, thus I can vouchsafe for her concrete contribution to the growth of Quezon City,” Bautista wrote Purisima.
The letter was the second sent by Bautista to the DoF. The first one received by the department on April 23 indicated the request of the Mayor to replace Villanueva after almost four years in his position.
While Bautista explained to Purisima in his letter that “DoF Personnel Order 305-2000 specifically provides that the Secretary of Finance shall exercise the authority to appoint local Treasurer and their Assistant for National Capital Region,” three names were recommended by the Mayor as possible replacements for Villanueva.
Bautista in the first letter recommended Pacis, Voltaire Enriquez (also a City Assistant Department Head III) and Arvin Philip Gotladera, Local Treasury Operations Officer II as replacements.
“I am exercising this option to recommend the replacement of the designated
Treasurer, Edgar Villanueva for Quezon City,” Bautista wrote in his letter to Purisima.
City hall insiders said a longstanding rift between the mayor and Villanueva must have led Bautista to tell the DoF his preferred replacement for his city treasurer.
“It’s the discretion of the local executives,” City Admistrator Aldrin Cuna told The Times.
However, another ranking city official said that because of a sudden change of lifestyle of Villanueva, Bautista seemed to smell something about this city treasurer.
“During executive meetings, we noticed the two nowadays are not on good terms, only stopping short of direct allegations. Even the local city auditor joins the fray,” the source said.
He added “that there may be something bigger than the sudden change of lifestyle. It may also be that the treasurer doesn’t deliver.”
It can be recalled that The Times broke the story of a continuing rift between the mayor and Villanueva who took over from Dr. Victor Endriga who retired as city treasurer and was later appointed as the city administrator of Bautista. Villanueva, sources said, seemed to have accumulated a lot of wealth upon getting the position.
In 2010, Bautista even clipped the treasuer’s power to evaluate real and business taxes during the first quarter of the year where tax payers have to negotiate or question the sudden increase in their payables, bringing speculations that whoever verifies the right taxes that businessmen have to pay “may earn more by under the table negotiations.”
Bautista in his letter added that “in the interest of sustaining the growth, sound and responsible revenue generation efforts of Quezon City, I trust that this humble recommendation is given preferential attention by the Secretary of Finance.”