DAVAO CITY — As she assumes the position of her husband — the late Councilor Leonardo Avila III — Lorelyn Trinidad-Avila’s stint at the city council is hoped to be a continuation of the late lawmaker’s advocacy.
“We believe she has the same passion with Sir Leo (Avila) and has the best intention to continue what Sir Leo has started,” Mary Ann Fuertes, executive director at Interface Development Interventions told Davao Today on Wednesday, March 9.
Wednesday was Avila’s first day as her late husband’s successor at the city council, following orders from President Benigno Aquino III who signed her appointment on February 26.
Large shoes to fill
Without previous experience as an elected official, she admits that she has some large shoes to fill. Her late husband, Leonardo, was among the author of the legislative measures geared to promote sustainable development in Davao. Among them include the fisheries code, the marine protected area ordinance, rainwater ordinance, and the watershed code.
And what environmental groups and advocates expect her for now is to defend an ordinance that requires developers to allocate 10 percent green space for real estate projects.
“Deep in my heart I support that because that is an advocacy of Leo. I am a supporter of the 10 percent green space allocation,” she told Davao Today.
Avila, however, asked the groups for time for her to digest the controversial ordinance “since I’m new here.”
Entry at a time of controversy
Mrs. Avila’s entry into politics comes at a time where a councilor is under fire for proposing to amend anew the green space provision of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan despite Mayor Rodrigo Duterte already vetoing the first attempt to pass an ordinance. Duterte said the proposal was “vague and ambiguous, prejudicial to the public interest and an exercise of legislative power in ultra vires.”
Meanwhile, Fuertes said they are elated with the news that Avila has finally took oath as councilor. She believes that “she won’t be just known as Sir Leo’s widow but in time she will be known for her own initiatives too.”
As a replacement, Avila has three months at the City Council. She will also run in the local elections as a substitute candidate for her husband, who died after a stroke attack on December 20.
Her succession was made possible with the endorsement of Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod, her husband’s political party. The endorsement was transmitted to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) which was then forwarded to the Office of the President.
Section 45 of the Local Government Code, states that the appointee shall come from the same political party of the deceased Sangguniang member. (With a report from Maria Patricia C. Borromeo/davaotoday.com)