RA 7724 declared October 19 a special non-working public holiday in Bacolod City, referred to as “Bacolod City Charter Day.” Passed by Congress on August 3, 1993, it was signed into law on March 3, 1994 by then-President Fidel V. Ramos. That specific law served as the basis for Bacolod City Councilor Wilson Gamboa, Jr., who chairs the Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee on History, Culture, and Arts, to pen a letter to Senate President Vicente Sotto III in opposition to HB 7044, submitted by incumbent Bacolod City lone district Rep. Greg Gasataya, calling for the day to be moved to June 18.
Gamboa believes the bill contradicts the traditions and norms instilled by RA 7724. He argues, in order to acquire corporate existence or personality, a chief executive and a majority of its council must be must be deemed qualified to hold office. For Bacolod City, that occurred on October 19, 1938, when then-President Manuel L. Quezon led the inauguration of Alfredo Montelibano as the first city mayor.
The city council noted, the entry into cityhood came about through Commonwealth Act No. 326, which indicated the following:
“The governing law as the basis of the Act is the 1935 Philippine Constitution Article XVI Transitory Provision which states that the date of the inauguration is usually the reckoning date of transition of government;
Commonwealth Act No. 326, though approved on June 18, 1938, the transitory provision under Article VII requires appointment and qualification of the City Mayor, and the appointment and induction into office of the members of the City Council for the Change of Government. Such shall only be perfected after the “sworn in” ceremony or during the inauguration on October 19, 1938 in the case of Bacolod City.”
(To be continued…)/WDJ