FORMER Cebu City councilor Jocelyn “Joy” Pesquera has been chosen to fill the City Council seat vacated by Councilor Donaldo “Dondon” Hontiveros.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama confirmed the party’s decision after he and Hontiveros took their oath of office as city mayor and vice mayor, respectively.
Pesquera, a lawyer and the head of the Cebu City Tourism Commission (CCTC), is running for city councilor in the south district. She also served as city councilor for several terms in the past.
“Atty. Joy Pesquera is the ideal person suited for the position due to her good public service track record, aside from her loyalty to the PDP-Laban and Partido Barug,” Rama said.
The movement in City Hall came a day after Mayor Edgardo Labella died due to a lingering illness on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021.
Rama said they are still working on the documents for Pesquera’s nomination before she can be appointed to the post.
Her nomination would also have to be approved by Malacañang.
Section 8 of Republic Act 5185, or the “Decentralization Act of 1967,” states that in the event of a vacancy, “the President alone, in the case of elective provincial and city officials and the provincial governors in the case of elective municipal officials, shall appoint a qualified person belonging to the political party or faction of the officer whom he is to replace, upon recommendation of the said political party or faction and who shall serve the unexpired term of the office: Provided, that in cities where councilors are elected by district, the qualified person shall come from the same district where the vacancy exists.”
The appointment shall be made within 15 days after the recommendation of the respective political party has been received.
In a separate interview, Pesquera said she welcomed the chance to serve in the City Council again, but she is sad that it had to occur following Labella’s death.
“I am happy because I will be able to serve again as city councilor because I will be able to present the plans that I already have. At the same time, I am also sad that it had to be in this manner,” Pesquera said.
She told SunStar Cebu that she is still upset over Labella’s passing, adding that the late mayor was always supportive of her since they started working together in the council.
“He was really very conscientious. He was our pillar, especially when we became colleagues in the city council. He made sure that everything we passed, like resolutions and ordinances, would be aboveboard and could stand the test of time. When he was the mayor and I headed the Cebu City Tourism Commission, he was very supportive and he allowed us to develop and promote tourism in the city in a way that would really benefit the people,” Pesquera added.
When she gets appointed as city councilor, Pesquera plans to institutionalize some programs that she introduced as head of the CCTC and to revisit their existing ordinances and amend them.
Pesquera first served as Cebu City councilor from 1998 to 2007. She ran and won a seat again from 2016 to 2019.
In the 2019 elections, Pesquera ran for the south district congressional seat but lost to incumbent Rep. Rodrigo “Bebot” Abellanosa.
When Labella was elected mayor, Pesquera was appointed to several positions in City Hall.
Aside from being the head of CCTC, Pesquera was also appointed manager of the New Oasis for Adaptation and a Home (Noah) complex at the South Road Properties, which has served as an isolation facility for Covid-19 cases since last year.
With Pesquera joining the council, the balance of power at the City Council remains favorable to the administration with 10 councilors allied with Rama and eight allied with the opposition.