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REQUEST FOR LEGAL OPINION:

The independent component City of Cotabato engaged the


services of private lawyers as consultants for Calendar Year (CY)
2015. These lawyers-consultants were primarily engaged to assist
the City Mayor Atty. Frances Cynthia J. Guiani-Sayadi and City
Legal Officer Atty. Rico S. Pelandoc in affording legal opinion and
giving legal advice on matters indorsed to the Office of the City
Mayor by other departments including those indorsed by the
Sangguniang Panlungsod headed by Vice Mayor Graham Nazer G.
Dumama. They also assisted the City Legal Officer Atty. Rico S.
Pelandoc in rendering legal advice to the indigent constituents of
the City.

In a letter dated February 1, 2016, the Commission on Audit


inquired from the City of Cotabato if the city requested
concurrence from the Commission on Audit (COA) and prior
written conformity from the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG)
in the hiring of private lawyers-consultants during CY 2015 in
accordance with COA Circular No. 95-011, as amended by COA
Circular No. 98-002.

In its reply, the City of Cotabato emphasized that the subject


of COA Circular No. 95-011 is on the prohibition against
employment by government agencies and instrumentalities,
including government-owned or controlled corporations, of private
lawyers to handle their legal cases while COA Circular No. 98-002
covers prohibition against employment by local government units
of private lawyers to handle their legal cases.

The City of Cotabato likewise cited Section 2 (a), Book I Title


I Chapter I of the Local Government Code which provides

It is hereby declared the policy of the State that the


territorial and political subdivisions of the State
shall enjoy genuine and meaningful local
autonomy to enable them to attain their fullest
development as self-reliant communities and make
them more effective partners in the attainment of
national goals. Toward this end, the State shall
provide for a more responsive and accountable
local government structure instituted through a
system of decentralization whereby local
government units shall be given more powers,
authority, responsibilities, and resources. The
process of decentralization shall proceed from the
national government to the local government
units

To further clarify the matter, the City of Cotabato requested a


legal opinion from the Department of Interior and Local
Government (DILG) on the following issue:

Whether or not prior written conformity from


the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and
concurrence from the Commission on Audit
(COA) are required prior to the hiring of
private lawyers-consultants by the City
Government of Cotabato

As a legal researcher of the DILG, provide a legal opinion


on the matter citing pertinent laws, issuances, guidelines and
decisions of the Supreme Court. No minimum and maximum
number of words (A4 paper, Arial Font Size 12). Kindly submit the
draft legal opinion online on or before December 4, 2017 at
scmadrona.dlsu@gmail.com.