The Court of Appeals has granted a petition filed by Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba over the power of the local chief executive to hire job order personnel and appoint officials and employees. In a 23-page decision dated June 14, 2021 and written by Associate Justice Apolinario D. Bruselas Jr., the CA Special Sixth Division set aside the ruling of the Tuguegarao City, Cagayan Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 10 on the legal standoff between Mamba and Vice Governor Melvin Vargas Jr. over job order employees hired in the Office of the Vice Governor and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
In June 2019, Mamba issued a memorandum which stated that the provincial governor had the sole authority to sign and execute job order contracts and consequently declared as void all job order contracts signed and entered into by Vargas. Vargas then wrote a letter to the Department of Budget Management to clarify the governor’s memoranda.
DBM Regional Director Alice Trinidad opined that the authority of the provincial governor to appoint employees does not extend to the employees of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan because such authority belonged to the vice governor.
In his response, Mamba reiterated his position that the LCE has the exclusive authority to hire job order employees, prompting Vargas and affected job order employees to file a petition before the lower court to assail the governor’s decision.
They argued that the vice governor has the authority to appoint casual and job order employees of the Office of the Vice-Governor and Sangguniang Panlalawigan as long as the budget was derived from the appropriation of the said local legislature.
Since the salaries of the job order employees were to be sourced from the appropriation for the office of the vice-governor and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, it is the vice-governor that had the authority to enter into contracts with them, they stated.
In ruling in favor of the governor, however, the CA distinguished appointed officials and the power to enter into contracts to procure services, including the hiring of job order employees.
“Appointment is different from the execution of a contract of service. The power of the local vice chief executive is limited to that of appointing officials and employees to his office and the Sanggunian, whose salaries are derived from the appropriation specifically for the local legislative body. The authority to execute any contract on behalf of the local government unit, to include the execution of contracts for the procurement of services (hiring job order personnel), remains exclusive to the local chief executive,” the appellate court said.