BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya: The Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Tuguegarao City has granted the petition of Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba for mandamus to compel the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (provincial board) to enact an ordinance to appropriate the province’s P3 billion budget for 2017.
Judge Marivic Cacatian-Beltran of RTC-Branch 3 in a 14-page decision dated August 14 directed Vice Governor Melvin Vargas Jr. and the 12 members of the provincial board to continue deliberating on the 2017 annual budget until they have enacted the ordinance providing for it.
“WHEREFORE, the petition is, in light of all the foregoing discussions, PARTLY GRANTED. Accordingly, the respondents are directed to continue to hold sessions on the annual budget for the current fiscal year during its regular sessions without additional remuneration and without other business during such sessions until an appropriation ordinance is enacted. SO ORDERED,” the decision stated
Mamba pointed put in his petition that the delay in enacting an appropriation ordinance has affected the provincial government’s operations and delivery of basic services to the people of Cagayan.
The province is currently operating on the reenacted 2016 budget of P1.9-billion.
He added that the provincial board should have avoided “politicking” when dealing with the 2017 annual budget because it is the people of Cagayan who will benefit from it.
Meanwhile, the vice governor denied that the provincial board has delayed the approval of the budget over political differences with Mamba saying, “the delay has something to do with a comprehensive scrutiny of the executive budget.”
The board members said they were confident they could pass the 2017 budget within 90 days but was delayed because of “a more careful study on the proposed budget.”