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July 4,2013 12:42 AM

By: Wenceslao E. Mateo Jr

WE understand that the executive assistants at Iloilo City Hall serve at the pleasure of Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog and, at the luckiest, for as long as his term in office. In fact, all of them are at their luckiest for being there until the end of the mayor’s first term on June 30, 2013.

In other words, their stay in office is co-terminous with the mayor. When the mayor’s term ends, so also is their term. But, of course, being in the service of the mayor “at his pleasure”, they may be removed from office earlier than the term of the mayor when he becomes “displeased” by their performance in their jobs.

A co-terminous appointment, according to the Civil Service Commission, is defined in Section 2. Employment Status in General of Rule III of Civil Service Commission Circular No. 40, series of 1998, to wit:

"Section 2. Employment Status in General.

***

"d. Coterminous - issued to a person whose entrance and continuity in the service is based on the trust and confidence of the appointing authority or of the head of the organizational unit where assigned, or co-existent with the incumbent, or limited by the duration of the project, or co-existent with the period for which an agency or office was created. Specifically, the categories of co-terminus appointments are :

“(a) co-terminous with the appointing authority; (b) co-terminous with the head of organizational unit where assigned ; (c) co-terminous with the incumbent;(d) co-terminous with the project; and (e) co-terminous with the life span of the agency."

This Section 2 further provides that “the security of tenure and the effectivity of appointments of those belonging to items (a) and (b) above are based on the trust and confidence of the appointing authority or the head of the organizational unit where they are assigned. This means that they may be separated from the service, earlier than the term of office of the appointing authority once the trust and confidence is lost or upon the separation of the appointing authority or head of organizational unit, as the case may be.”

Also, under Section 14 (2), Rule V of the Omnibus Civil Service Rules Implementing Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987, an appointment co-terminous with the appointing authority is co-existent with the tenure of the appointing authority or at his pleasure.”

With these CSC rules, the terms of the executive assistants of Mayor Jed Mabilog already expired at also the end of the first term of the mayor on June 30, 2013. In other words, they were already “out of office” effective July 1, 2013 until reappointed by the mayor.

But has the mayor reappointed them – all the reportedly 13 of them? (In his presscon Wednesday, Mabilog said he will reappoint Celiz in September 2013 as punishment for crossing Councilor Plaridel Nava-Ed.). It appears that only former councilors Ely Estante and Perla Zulueta may take their seats in office as yet, having been newly appointed by the mayor at the end of their three consecutive-term stints in the Sangguniang Panlungsod. With them, the mayor’s executive assistants, assuming he will still fill the 13 positions, now total to 15.

In exercising his appointing power, we suggest to the mayor that he should really base his reappointment of the executive assistants on their performance, and not just for reasons of political accommodation.

Public funds must be spent judiciously and those who do not deserve to be supported by people’s money, or overlap the other’s functions, should be dismissed. Otherwise, that is abusive use of public funds. Public money spent for their salaries is better spent for welfare programs and projects.

The mayor should also worry over an executive assistant’s tendency to use his/her delegated power against public interests contrary to the mayor’s vow in office. With tenable evidence, documentary or by credible testimony, he should not reappoint such executive assistants. They simply don’t make good copy.

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