For the first time in the province’s history, a governor has taken the Sanggunian Panlalawigan to court so that the legislators will be legally compelled to restore and approve the controversial appropria tions that they found prudent to delete from the 2015 annual budget.

In his petition for a writ of mandamus, Governor Roel Degamo named as respondents, Vice-Governor Edward Mark Macias, Sangguniang Panlalawigan members Jessica Jane J. Villanueva, Melliemoore M. Saycon, Clayborne Clyde L. Lim, Edmund F. Dy, Liga ng mga Barangay President Arnolfo Teves Jr., Ma. Antonia E. Villegas, Georgita F. Martinez, Peve O. Ligan, Rommel Erames and Philippine Councilors League President Chester V. Lim. The Governor alleges that “their collusive act of deleting the item on intelligence expense under the budget of the Governor’s Office in the amount of P 10 milion is highly irregular, illegal and prejudicial to the best interest of the service.”

The Governor asserts that the grant of confidential/ intelligence fund is automatic pursuant to DILG MC No 99-65 and 99-100, which is computed at “30% of the total annual amount allocated for peace and order efforts or three percent (3%) of the total annual appropriations, whichever is lower.”

Degamo is also asking the court to declare as illegal, null and void the respondents’ act of deleting the item on Outreach Program Medical/Surgical Mission under Peace and Order Initiative in the amount of P 15 million and for using the same amount to increase the budget for drugs and medicine for the district hospitals and for creating a new item for drugs and medicine for community primary hospitals” was deemed a violation of Article 415 (a) of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code of 1991.

Provincial Attorney Richard Enojo said that it is imperative that the P15 million appropriation for the medical and surgical mission be restored under Peace and Order initiatives so as not to dilute the amount for intelligence fund.

Governor Roel Degamo said that it is necessary to seek the court’s intervention after the respondents “refused to perform what is ministerial on their part” to approve the P10 million appropriation on confidential and intelligence fund and P 15 million for medical mission in the proposed budget.

The case has been raffled to the Regional Trial Court Branch 33 under Judge Fe Lualhati D. Bustamante. The respondents have been served copies of the petition so they could file their replies. (By Dems Rey Demecillo)