We all have to remember that in a democracy, we still adhere to the rule of law and the mandate given by the people; or emanating from the people.
There is the Constitution which was enshrined through the peopleâ€™s mandate. There is the highest elective officer in the land, elected by all registered voters (flying, dead, resurrected, legal or otherwise) from all over the country, and even abroad. There are the two other branches of government, with powers and authority again coming from the peopleâ€™s mandate.
But we can refrain from talking about governance and the Constitution to make this discussion simpler and easier.
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We can limit our discussion using the context of a â€œboss-employeeâ€ relationship. If the employee commits something irregular, the boss has the right to discipline the employee using all legal and allowable remedies.
If an employee commits something wrong, the boss cannot just slap the employee in private or in public.
If an employee feels he or she is being discriminated against by his or her boss, the employee cannot just hole-up, bunker-in or squat in the office and wait for â€œdoomsdayâ€ or for public opinion to just save the day. The employee can avail of all legal and allowable remedies.
Sadly, but true, an employee cannot just issue a memo defying his boss. Life is not fair, I know.
For a very few local officials in the land, they seem to forget the difference between the meaning and intent of â€œdecentralizationâ€ and â€œautonomyâ€. Because there is decentralization, but not autonomy. They seem to forget that they are still in a â€œboss-employeeâ€ relationship and this selection process of the â€œbossâ€ is through the peopleâ€™s mandate [e.g. the Constitution, the national laws that explain and interpret the Constitution, and the national government].
For a very few local officials, they hide behind the cloak of the local government code and misappropriate their powers and authority with the tendency and temptation to interpret their city or municipality as their fiefdom.
The Local Government Code of 1991 says it clearly, [Section 2] â€œâ€¦it is the policy of the State to ensure the accountability of local government unitsâ€¦â€ and [Section 25] â€œâ€¦the President shall exercise general supervision over local government units to ensure that their acts are within the scope of their prescribed powers and functions.â€
Yes, Virginia, an elected local official can still be suspended on the following grounds, [Section 60] (a) Disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines; (b) Culpable violation of the Constitution;(c) Dishonesty, oppression, misconduct in office, gross negligence, or dereliction of duty; (d) Commission of any offense involving moral turpitude or an offense punishable by at least prison mayor; (e) Abuse of authority; (f) Unauthorized absence for fifteen (15) consecutive working days; (g) Application for, or acquisition of, foreign citizenship or residence or the status of an immigrant of another country; and (h) Such other grounds as may be provided in this Code and other laws…â€
A local government cannot come up with laws or rules that defy the Constitution. The Department of Interior and Local Government said, [Memorandum Circular No. 2012-181] â€œâ€¦the power of local government units to pass ordinances and resolutions is merely a delegated power coming from Congress and ordinances should not contravene an existing statute enacted by Congress.â€
The mandate of the interior department comes from the Constitution. The interior department secretary is an â€œalter egoâ€ of the President and the mandate of the President comes from the people, well at least until 2016.
But we all know these – as these are simple logic and common sense. There is no one above the law; there has to be a system of accountability.
If a case is filed against you, even if you are an elected official, you have to respond and defend yourself. Not hole-up, bunker-in, or squat in an office which, temporarily, for a short period of time no longer belongs to you.
You just donâ€™t slap a person because that person has defied your order or â€œrequestâ€.
You cannot just come up with a law and implement it in your own back-yard and pretend you are disengaged from the rest of the country that follows a law different from your own.
Because if you think that way; it just doesnâ€™t make sense.
I am working with a large-scale mining company that adheres to responsible mining and sustainable development principles.