Defrosting the rewards ordinance
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
The spate of more than 40 extra-judicial killings in Dumaguete City within 10 years has awakened the “honorable men” of the City Council to activate Ordinance No. 73, series of 2005, or the Reward System Ordinance of Dumaguete City.
The sudden rise of criminality in the city, specially with the employment of hired killers, is very alarming. Some say cheap guns-for-hire individuals can be had for as low as P5,000 to P10,000. The shooting and killing of a police officer, a pedestrian and his wife at Larena Drive, were the latest activities of guns-for-hire in the city.
The rationale of the ordinance is to make masterminds think twice before hiring assassins, as it may turn on them because the city has a more lucrative reward of at least P100,000 cash.
Dumaguete has an approved Ordinance No. 73, which gives rewards of P100,000 cash to a person who discloses the name of a hired killer or induce a killer or triggerman to reveal the mastermind. This could also become a deterrent to future masterminds.
The Provincial Board issued Resolution No.1 on January 5, 2006, declaring Ordinance No.73, entitled “ Reward System Ordinance of Dumaguete City” as invalid, being contrary to law, and repugnant to the Rules on Criminal Procedures promulgated by the Supreme Court of the Philippines. But the City Council says otherwise because the Board failed to approve or disapprove the Ordinance within 30 days which from October 3, 2005 to December 22, 2005, as mandated by Section 56 of the Local Government Code. Clearly the Board exceeded the 30-day limit by 50 days.
Section 56 states: “If no action has been taken by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan within thirty (30) days after submission of such an ordinance or resolution, the same shall be presumed consistent with law and therefore valid.”
We believe that the Provincial Board, as the legislative body of the province, is vested with review powers by the LGC of 1991 over the validity of ordinances and resolutions passed by Sanggunians of component cities and municipalities.
We also know that the Sangguniang Panlungsod, in good faith, had declared Ordinance No.73 as consistent with law and valid.
As of this writing, the city apparently believes the ordinance had been approved, and that it is included in the files of other valid, active and operative ordinances of the City.
We hope and pray that both provincial and city officials would revisit Ordinance No. 73 for all for its worthiness and timeliness, especially in line with the kind of crimes taking place today.*