• Vizcaya governor set to remove rival’s appointees

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    BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya: The newly installed governor of Nueva Vizcaya has issued an executive order revoking the so-called midnight appointments made by the previous administration.

    Gov. Ruth Padilla’s move will affect some 300 provincial capitol and hospital employees who were reportedly more sympathetic to the political rivals of the current provincial leadership.

    One of the employees speculated that Padilla’s move might have been politically motivated since “the affected employees were perceived to be either close to the past administration and whose promotion or permanent appointments were made under Cuaresma’s term.”

    The employee further noted that the new administration had to resort to terminating some of the employees “to accommodate their own political followers.”

    In her Executive Order (EO) 3, Padilla recalled, withdrew, and revoked appointments by former-Gov. Luisa Lloren Cuaresma, who completed three terms and served the province for nine years.

    The EO, which was issued on July 1, has nullified the appointments, which included those appointed shortly before the May 13 elections up to July 1.

    “[The appointments were] in violation of the Local Government Code [LGC], the Omnibus Election Code [OEC], and the Civil Service Laws and Regulations,” Padilla said.

    Also a former Commissioner of the Professional Regulations Commission, Padilla said that the appointments and promotions of some employees were made in the absence of a Personnel Selection Board (PSB), which should have been created in accordance with the law.

    The EO cited section 80, paragraph C of the LGC, which provides that the local chief executive shall head the PSB and its members shall be determined by a resolution of the Sanggunian concerned.

    The revocation also included any appointment or hiring in violation of section 261 of the OEC, which states that an appointing authority of a government office who appoints or hires any new position during the period of 45 days before a regular election shall be guilty of an election offense.

    In a press release, Padilla said she is hoping that “our constituents understand what we are doing at present because our funds for casuals and contractual employees are no longer enough for the whole year,” and that proper qualifications of employees shall be the basis in reappointing them.

    Padilla said that all appointments issued after the election up to June 30 by outgoing elective officials shall be disapproved unless these appointments meet all the requirements under the Civil Service Memorandum Order 10 of 2011.

    Meanwhile, lawyer Leslie Costales, former Provincial Legal Officer under Cuaresma’s administration, has asserted that the appointees of the past administration have undergone legal processes. When asked to comment on the EO revoking the appointments, Costales said he would withhold comment until the new administration starts implementing it.

    The lawyer, however, said in a text message that he would give the new administration the benefit of the doubt that they are also complying with the process.

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