Alarmed by the mounting complaints about the inability of the Department of Finance (DOF) to go after erring treasurers assigned at the Local Government Units (LGUs), Sen. Aquino “Koko” Pimentel said on Thursday he will push hard to have the set-up changed.
Pimentel said he will move to amend a provision of the 1991 Local Government Code to empower local government executives appoint provincial, city or municipal treasurer and be given authority to directly supervise and report tax collections to their respective local chief exectives.
The amendment, Pimentel said, will enable LGUs to become “more effective partners in the attainment of national goals’ through a system of decentralization that gave them more powers, authority, responsibilities and resources.”
A recent case in point was the failure of Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista to replace the overstaying city treasurer with a list of three candidates as required by the DOF.
Bautista asked the DOF to relieve his city treasurer, Edgar Villanueva on May 8, “for flaunting perks or a lavish lifestyle from signature clothes to a fleet of luxury cars,” the DOF has sat on Bautista’s request.
Pimentel said the reform would be contained in a proposed bill that seeks to amend Sections 470 and 471 of the Code providing for the appointment, qualifications, powers and duties of the provincial, city or municipal treasurer and assistant treasurer.
At present, the Secretary of Finance has the power to discipline, suspend or dismiss the treasurer, it is a set up that may be an anomaly under the code’s provisions for “genuine and meaningful local autonomy” Pimentel explained.
The law also “prevents the governor, or the city or municipal mayor concerned from exercising disciplinary powers over the treasurer,” he added. Lulu R. Principe