“Enjoy your time in public service. It may well be one of the most interesting and challenging times of your life.” DONALD RUMSFELD
By Alex P. Vidal
Whatever his critics say about him, outgoing City Legal Officer Jose Junio Jacela will be a big loss in the administration of Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.
Jacela will bow out as chief of the legal department effective September 30 after Mabilog accepted his resignation and designated Atty. Daniel Dinopol as his successor.
Jacela tendered his resignation after the city council rejected in a 14-1 vote his reappointment by Mabilog in July this year.
A former law professor and city prosecutor, Jacela has been chief legal officer since July 2010. When he was city councilor during the administration of Mayor Mansueto Malabor, Jacela helped save Malabor from various legal disasters (except in the P130-M Pavia housing scam where he and the former mayor were among the respondents) by just “being there when Pare Mansing needed him most.”
The late former city treasurer Romeo Manikan Sr. considered Jacela as “Pare Mansing’s saving grace” because Jacela knew how to guide Malabor, a fellow lawyer, wiggle out from risky deals that would give then fire-spewing opposition sentinel, city councilor Inday Pearl Zulueta, reason to haul Malabor in the Ombudsman.
Jacela made the right decision to resign after Mabilog failed to convince city councilors to reconsider their nay vote. Life is happier and livelier outside public office. City hall is a gossip mill anyway. Despite his seniority and professional standing, Jacela has not been spared by intrigues fomented by some of his peers in the city mayor’s office. There were those who gave him Mona Lisa smile when he was facing, and buried molotov in his back when he was turning his back or when he was not around.
Being identified with the past administration is one of Jacela’s mortal sins. From day one of his appointment, there were some Mabilog minions who didn’t like his presence in the city legal office.
No one is exactly sure if his relationship with former vice mayor and now Mabilog adviser Victor Facultad has improved, but reports said it’s hard to convince Facultad to smile each time Mabilog mentioned some of Jacela’s magnificent contributions in his administration. Facultad, however, has been very efficient in his public relations job and has earned some pogi points for the Mabilog administration in his own herculean effort.