Virac SB to ask DILG on status of “absentee” councilor’s seat

No less than the presiding officer of the Sangguniang Bayan of Virac has sponsored a resolution recommending to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) the declaration of a permanent vacancy in the council due to the “continued unauthorized absence” of Councilor Ephraim Antonio A. Gianan.

Last week during its regular session, the draft resolution underwent first reading, with the council reportedly set to vote on it when the rest of the members are present.

The measure, which recommends to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) the declaration of a permanent vacancy in the council, cited as basis Section 44 of the Local Government Code of 1991 which states that such a vacancy arises when an elected official “
“refuses to assume office,” among others.

Absences without justifiable causes for four (4) consecutive sessions is one of the grounds for a disciplinary action, the resolution stressed, under Rule XVII, Article 103 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 7160.

It quoted the Oct. 1, 2020 letter of the Human Resource Management Office (HMRO) of the municipality of Virac which stated that Councilor Gianan has been absent since March 12,, 2020 and has already exceeded the maximum allowable leave of absence.

“(He) has therefore incurred prolonged unauthorized absences for which his representation of the constituents of Virac whom he has sworn to serve with utmost responsibility, integrity and efficiently has already been jeopardized,” it said.

The Sangguniang Bayan had written the councilor in July and September regarding his status and on Oct. 1, 2020 passed a resolution requesting him to report to work and fulfill his sworn duty as SB member.

Despite the requests, the councilor still did not appear and report to the Sanggunian, it pointed out.
“This Sanggunian believes that his justification such as his medical condition that requires him to stay in Manila for medical check-up, his being a senior citizen and request to work from home is not sufficient to cover for his absence, considering that demand for various legislation is imperative at this point of COVID-19 pandemic and parading typhoon devastation,” Vice Mayor Arlynn H. Arcilla stressed.

In response to the Oct. 1, 2020 resolution, Councilor Gianan said he would try his best to be in Virac not later than Oct. 21 and, according to a source, was set to return before the e but super typhoon Rolly cancelled his plans.

On his bid to apply for vacation leave for the period Sept. 23 and 30, 2020, HRMO II Laarni T. Pantino informed the councilor that he no longer has available vacation leave credits as of Sept. 18, 2020 as leave accumulation does not apply on officials and employees who are on leace and have not reported for work for a long period of time.

While he still has available 8.25 days of sick leave credits, the same cannot be used in applying for a vacation leave, she said.

Sick leave is granted only on account of sickness or disability on the part of the employee concerned and the application will have to be supported by a medical certificate, she added.

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