THE PINK LADY, lawyer Zuleika Lopez, falls into an ambush interview by Davao City media after more than an hour of grilling by Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who questioned her qualifications as Mayor Sara Duterte’s appointed city administrator. JIM TAN NUEVO
Thanks to Mayor Sara Duterte, the lady in pink may no longer have to return to a lions’ den to face her fate.
In what is seen as a tactical maneuver, Mayor Duterte last week appointed lawyer Zuleika Lopez as “acting city administrator” a day after she failed to bag the concurrence of city councilors for her appointment as city administrator.
In its regular session Tuesday, Lopez—who gained the tag Pink Lady for painting her office pink while the secretary of the Davao City Council during Mayor Duterte’s term as vice mayor—faced up to Vice Mayor Duterte and some councilors in a one-and-a-half grilling that had her credentials attacked as inadequate under requirements for qualification mandated by the Local Government Code.
She was to appear in this week’s Tuesday session to get the confirmation after city councilors put on hold last week their concurrence for her appointment.
Under the local government code, the appointed city administrator must be concurred with by the local legislative body.
As “acting city administrator,” her appointment would be in an acting capacity without need for her to go back to the city council .to get the confirmation.
Mayor Duterte had expressed hurt at the manner Lopez was treated at the City Council, where father Vice Mayor Duterte led the assault on her credentials. The vice mayor said the work experience of Lopez—a graft investigator at the Ombudsman and information officer at the University of the Philippines before she was appointed Secretary of the city council by then Vice Mayor Sara Duterte—did not sum up to requirements under the local government code.
Vice Mayor Duterte also raised several other issues on the city government’s environmental protection and engineering programs and how City Hall is treating the public.
I want City Hall to be open to the public, he said adding he had got reports that people need to get an appointment before they can meet with Lopez.
Mayor Duterte has defended Lopez saying she is a Career Executive Service Officer (CESO) and that the Civil Service Commission had given the go-signal to Lopez’s appointment.