Aura Landar’s vindication

It may have come too late to resolve the issue, but Memorandum Circular No. 2010-82 issued by DILG secretary Jesse Robredo dated August 31, 2010 settles the question about whether Passi City councilor Aura Landar-Layese had the right to assume office as ex-oficio member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan effective at noon of June 30, 2010 when she succeeded to the presidency of the Philippine Councilors League.

This two-page policy statement made it clear that a PCL president who won in the last local elections does not lose his right to represent the league until it could hold an election and his successor shall have assumed office. There can be no gap in the representation of the PCL at any time, and whoever holds the office of President at a particular time is automatically a member of the Provincial Board. This rule doesn’t distinguish whether a President was elected as such, or succeeded to the Position. In the case of Councilor Landar-Layese, she became President effective noon of June 30, 2010, as the last elected president, Cecilia Colada of Janiuay, and the executive vice president, Bing Gonzaga of Pavia, were defeated in the May 10 polls. Landar-Layese was next in the line of succession as secretary general.

This policy statement exposes the ignorance of the current Sangguniang Panlalawigan leadership in the province of Iloilo, which did everything to block Landar-Layese’s efforts to assume the ex-oficio seat. It is a leadership that is afraid of its own shadow, as it cannot contemplate a situation where it might not get the numbers to force the approval of certain legislative measures in the provincial board.