By Antonio Colina IV
DAVAO CITY – Vice Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte will be the acting mayor of Davao City for two months after his sister, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, took a 60-day special medical leave starting July 19 until September 17.
The 32-year-old Sebastian, a rookie politician who is the youngest son of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, told reporters last week that like his sister, he could not attend his father’s fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) as he has to lead the regular session of the City Council as its presiding officer the next day.
Sebastian ran unopposed last elections.
Under Section 456 of the Local Government Code of 1991, the City Vice Mayor shall be the “presiding officer of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council) and sign all warrants drawn on the city treasury for all expenditures appropriated for the operation of the Sangguniang Panlungsod.”
Subject to civil service law, rules and regulations, the Vice Mayor appoints all officials and employees of the City Council except those whose manner of appointment is specifically provided under the Code.
The law also provides that the Vice Mayor will assume the office of the mayor “for the unexpired term of the latter in the event of permanent vacancy”; exercise the powers and perform the duties and functions of the city mayor in cases of temporary vacancy; and exercise other powers and perform such other duties and functions as may be prescribed by law or ordinance.
In his first statement as acting mayor, released by the City Information Office, Sebastian said the government respects everyone’s right to the “freedom of speech, expression, and to peaceably assemble to petition the government” but appealed to protesters “to avoid staging their program on highways and public areas” that could affect the flow of pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
He reminded them to limit their activities in areas where they have a permit to hold rallies such as the freedom parks or private properties that issued consent.
The acting mayor said the protesters should be mindful of the rights of their fellow Filipinos, particularly the “right to travel and to do so peacefully” of the students and workers.