The Office of the President yesterday denied the request of the Bacolod Sangguniang Panlungsod for a Presidential declaration of June 18, 2012 as a special non-working holiday for the celebration of the signing of the Charter of Bacolod City.
In a letter dated June 14, 2012 (also yesterday), Michael Aguinaldo, Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs, noted that the Charter creating Bacolod City (Commonwealth Act No. 326) was signed on June 18, 1938, but Republic ActNo. 7724 passed on May 19, 1994, states that the celebration for the Charter Anniversary of Bacolod City must be every October 19.
He said a contrary Proclamation by the President might be construed as a violation of the legal precept that laws can only be repealed or modified by another law.
Aguinaldo said that it was on October 19 when the first-ever City Mayor of Bacolod was appointed.
Thus, the wisdom in enacting R.A. 7724 finds solace in Section 50 of C.A. 326 and is also in consonance with the rule that when a law is enacted, it is presumed that Congress intended what is right, he said.
Earlier, however, Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia said June 18 is presumed to be a regular working day in Bacolod City considering that the city has not yet received as of yesterday confirmation from the Office of President Benigno Aquino III on its request to declare Monday as a special non-working holiday.
Leonardia said the celebration will go on as planned on Monday and school children and students who are participating in the Charter Anniversary activities of the city are considered part of the celebration.
Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson said the participation of the students in the Charter Anniversary parade will be part of their school activity.
The weeklong Charter Anniversary celebration was declared open by Sayson during the Independence Day program Tuesday at the BAYS Center.
Leonardia said the Sangguniang Panlungsod was unanimous in passing a resolution requesting Malacanang to declare June 18 as a special non-working public holiday in the city as it commemorates the signing into law of Commonwealth No. 326,Series of 1938 that took effect immediately upon signing.
Because of that request, many have anticipated such declaration from Malacañang as "We believe it was a valid request from the members of the Sanggunian," he said
But for clarity and fairness to all, as of press time yesterday, they had not received any official communication from Malacanang, he added.
Leonardia said that he is informing everyone that June 18 is a regular working day so they will be guided.
"It is better that our people are informed way ahead of time so that they can be guided on what to do on Monday," he said.
Councilor Caesar Distrito said that as the author of the Charter Anniversary ordinance and resolution, they are hoping that June 18 will be declared as a holiday because it will not only give the people respite, but also the chance to join the Charter Anniversary celebration.”
It is for the people’s best interest to declare it a holiday because workers can have a day’s rest and still receive salaries, he said. If he/she reports for work on that day, he/she will be entitled to additional pay, he added.
Distrito said the resolution requesting the President to declare June 18 a holiday was approved unanimously by all members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod. It therefore shows that all the local officials, as representatives of the people, are united in this request, he said.
“If someone will oppose it, then he is anti-people,” Distrito said.
Councilor Em Legaspi-Ang said it was only the signature of the President that was needed (as the draft of the Presidential Proclamation was reportedly ready).
They were told it was endorsed favorably by the Office of the President through Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. So they were waiting for the Presidential Proclamation to be forwarded yesterday, she said.
A Malacañang source, however, said although the draft of the Presidential Proclamation was already prepared, Bacolod Rep. Anthony Golez Jr. had filed a vehement objection against the declaration of June 18 as a holiday in Bacolod.
Ang said they have been receiving a lot of inquiries from the schools, banks and offices especially that today is a Friday.
People wanted to know if Monday will be declared a holiday or not so that they can notify the students, as well as their clients and employees, she said.
The Charter Anniversary celebration last year fell on a Saturday
Ang said they are proposing an ordinance in today’s session declaring June 18 of every year as “Paghanduraw Day”. This is the commemoration of the signing of the city’s charter, she said.
The ordinance is authored by Councilor Archie Baribar and co-authored by Councilors El Cid Familiaran, Sonya Verdeflor, Mona Dia Jardin and Ang*CGS