SB members files complaint vs Sta. Cruz town mayor

Some members of the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) of Sta. Cruz town in Davao del Sur has filed a counter-charge against their local chief executive at the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in Digos City on Monday morning, February 21.

In a statement from the respondent’s legal counsel lawyer Rene Villarente, Sta. Cruz Mayor Jaime “Jun” Lao, Jr. will face a criminal case of perjury after majority of the members of Sangguniang Bayan (SB) filed a counter-charge against him.

This counter-charge, according to Villarente, is driven by the Mayor’s statement in his affidavit complaint alleging Vice Mayor Jerome Undalok, and Councilors Jose Nelson Sala, Charlotte Gallego, Anselmo Datu, Nestor Crave, Michelle Orpilla, Apolinar Ugduracion, Jr., and Michel Louise Bajo for the violation of graft and corrupt practices act and section 60 of Republic Act 7160 in connection with the Municipality’s Annual Investment Plan (AIP) rift.

He said the criminal complaint against Lao is for violating the ‘perjury in solemn affirmation’ in his affidavit complaint filed February 4 against some members of the SB which stated “the SB of Sta. Cruz failed to authorize the annual budget for the year 2021 thereby causing the re-enactment of the Appropriations Ordinance of the year 2020”.

The Mayor further stated that “the failure of the SB of Sta. Cruz to enact the Appropriations Ordinance would again cause the re-enactment of the Appropriations Ordinance of the year 2020 which shall be applied to the operations of the municipality for the year 2022”.

However, Villarente cited that there was an appropriations ordinance for 2021.

“It is Appropriations Ordinance No. 01, Series of 2021 Granting Legislative Authorization of the Annual Budget for 2021. The respondents’ told that the Mayor vetoed some portions of it,” he added.

The respondents cited that it was the Local Chief Executive and the executive departments’ late submission of the complete AIP that caused the delay considering that the executive department should have submitted the AIP to the legislative department on or before October 14, 2021. However, the executive department only submitted the proposed AIP in mid December of 2021.

As solution to the problem, Villarente bared that the SB conducted series of sessions pursuant to its mandate and duty to scrutinize the proposed budget from January 21 to February 8, 2022.

The respondents revealed that more particularly sessions were conducted on January 21, 2022, January 24, 2022, January 26, 2022, January 27, 2022, February 2, 2022, February 7, 2022, and February 8, 2022 as part of the check and balance requirement of the Local
Government Code.

On February 8, 2022, the respondents said the SB passed the Ordinance Authorizing the Annual Budget for the Municipality of Sta. Cruz for 2022. On February 14, 2022 it was endorsed to the Local Chief Executive, denying the allegations of the Mayor.

The respondents’ counter-affidavit, meanwhile, requested the dismissal of complaint as there are no concrete grounds of any of the allegations from the Local Chief Executive.

“As a member of SB, he should have been included as every local legislative enactment requires participation of all of its members,” the respondents’ counter affidavit stated.