Manila council rejects exec’s appointment

Manila, Philippines --- The Manila City Council unanimously denied the appointment of an official under the city planning and development office after the latter allegedly committed violations in the performance of his duties.

In a resolution approved by the city council last July 11, the appointment of Manila city building official Engr. Melvin Q. Balagot was denied 'due to his failure to controvert alleged violations committed by him in the performance of his act favorably on his appointment is tantamount to acquiescing to his illegitimate activities.'

The resolution said that Balagot has no valid appointment as city building official since the request for the confirmation of his position was denied by the city council since 2010. Thus, Balagot was acting in the capacity of an officer-in-charge but was receiving the salary entitled to his position.

The city council's renewed the denial of Balagot's confirmation came amid the uproar on the supposed demolition of the old Meralco Building in Ermita, Manila.

It was Balagot who issued the demolition permit to demolish the old Meralco building, an Art Deco building designed by architect Juan Arellano in 1936 that features relief sculptures by an Italian sculptor. The building is now owned by a private company.

The impending demolition was stopped by newly-installed Mayor Joseph Estrada after a meeting with a representative from the Italian embassy last July 8. Estrada ordered the suspension of the demolition to avoid further damage to the sculptures and until after their transfer have been completed.

The resolution also emphasized that Balagot has no valid appointment and confirmation by the city council and therefore, has no authority to receive salary as city government department head III.

"The city council of Manila hereby denies with finality the appointment of Engr. Melvin Q. Balagot as city government department head III under the city planning and development office," the resolution said.

The appointment of former sixth district Councilor Dennis Lacuna to replace Balagot has been confirmed by the city council early this month.