Council overrides Rama’s budget veto

Posted on January 5, 2012

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AS expected, the Cebu City Council yesterday voted 17 to 1 to override the partial veto of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama on the city’s 2012 budget worth P5.2 billion.

The council’s vote means that the P5.2-billion budget for the city will be operational for this year, said Councilor Jose Daluz III.

“Overriding the mayor’s partial veto means that we are confirming what we have passed …. the budget is now operative,” he said.

The council dominated by the Bando Osmena-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) insisted there was nothing irregular in their approval of only half of Rama’s proposed P10.8-billion budget.

The amount was reduced from the original P11.8 billion proposed by the mayor.

Only Councilor Eduardo Rama, the mayor’s nephew, supported the partial veto.

The council, Daluz said, will furnish a copy of the approved budget and the mayor’s veto letter for review to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) within 90 days.

He said the council would still await the outcome of the DBM review to know “if the council’s act was correct.”

Rama wrote the council last Dec. 29 to approve the 2012 budget ordinance but said he would exercise a partial veto on items that were deleted.

He said the council lacked authority to make the deletions that were also “prejudicial” to the public.

Rama also questioned provisions that the council attached on lump sum appropriations.

The council wanted charges to lump sum appropriations to require their approval before disbursement of funds.

Councilor Margot Osmeña, the council’s budget committee chairperson, said this was in compliance with DBM regulations, which it raised after a review of the city’s 2011 budget.

Rama earlier said he would convene his legal team and financial advisers to identify their next course of action following the council vote.

Osmeña said she objected to Rama’s reference to “deleted items” in the budget ordinance.

“We (the council) did not delete. What we did was to authorize items based on reasonable expectation of revenues,” she said.

“Anytime the executive can come back to the council if they prove that there is enough funding and we can authorize more items,” said Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young.

The council also changed its position on the release of P175 million lump sum appropriation for aid to barangays and the P20 million appropriation for burial assistance.

They said it should be the concerned barangays and not the Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) that should endorse the allocations for aid.

The P175 million appropriation is intended for the honorarium of barangay officials. /By Doris C. Bongcac, Chief of Reporters

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