Only local finance bureau can oust treasurer, so Rama ‘reinstates’ Reyes

MAYOR Michael Rama returned Mare Vae Fernandez Reyes to her post of Cebu City treasurer Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, a week after announcing her relief over her alleged involvement in a garbage collection deal that resulted in P239 million in damage to the government.

Rama had announced last Dec. 29 that Reyes was among the employees to be relieved from their posts for having been charged with plunder, graft and corruption by the National Bureau of Investigation-Central Visayas (NBI 7) before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas.

The charges were filed by the NBI 7 on Dec. 14, 2022 after the agency found unlawful acts allegedly committed such as overbilling, padding and ghost garbage deliveries in carrying out the garbage collection deal, which was signed by the Cebu City Government and the joint venture of Docast Construction and JJ & J Construction and General Supply.

On announcing Reyes’ relief, Rama appointed Assistant City Administrator Dr. Anthony Aguhar as acting city treasurer.

As a result, Reyes had not signed the documents in her office for the past three days pending the relief order.

Reyes sent a letter to Rama on Wednesday, Jan. 4, requesting the latter to show her the written relief order.

“I would like to ask for a clear and categorical written directive or order on whether or not I should continue to perform my duties and responsibilities attached to my position as city treasurer of this City, pending the appointment of an acting city treasurer by the Department of Finance (DOF) through the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) and despite the press statement made last Dec. 29, 2022,” Reyes said in her two-page letter.

According to Reyes, Rama’s announcement during a press conference to relieve her and install an acting city treasurer without a written order confused her because only the BLGF could appoint her replacement.

“Such pronouncement put the undersigned in a quandary since it is a well- known fact that the City Treasurer and the appointment thereof will be issued by the Department of Finance through the Bureau of Local Government Finance,” said Reyes, who became a full-fledged city treasurer in March 2022.

Reyes said she signed the documents, especially disbursement papers for the 458th Fiesta Señor activities, only when Mayor Rama told her during their meeting on Friday, Jan. 6, that she would remain as city treasurer.

The BLGF 7 still recognizes Reyes as the head of the City Treasurer’s Office.

“Insofar as the bureau is concerned, records of this office show that Ms. Mare Vae F. Reyes is the City Treasurer of Cebu City, duly appointed by the Secretary of Finance, on 02 March 2022,” said BLGF 7 Director Jessie Doctolero’s, in a letter to the Cebu City Government.

“In accordance with Section 470 of the Local Government Code of 1991, and as such, shall perform the duties and functions appertaining to the position of City Treasurer of Cebu City,” he added. (PAC / TPT)