‘Binastos, political ordinance’

Posted on July 19, 2012

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ALLIES of Mayor Michael Rama in the Cebu City Council were not present when the SRP ordinance was approved yesterday.

Councilor Joey Daluz III said he was at home feeling ill.
“The ordinance is highly political. Binastos kaayo ni siya,” said Daluz.

“We all know what’s the deeper motive of the ordinance. The council was sent to do the bidding of Tomas Osmeña and the council agreed. They are using the powers of the august body.”

Congressman Osmeña has been vocal about his fears that Mayor Rama would prematurely sell part of the SRP to raise funds for his administration instead of waiting for land values to go up with large-scale projects of SM and Filinvest.

Minority leader Edgardo Labella stepped out of the hall before the ordinance was taken up.

Other Rama allies — Councilors Jose Daluz III and Edu Rama Jr. — were absent yesterday.

Labella and Daluz, both lawyers, said the new ordinance only duplicates provisions of the Local Government Code (LGC).

“There is already a built-in provision of check and balances in the Code,” Labella told Cebu Daily News.

Mayor Rama himself called the ordinance a “surplusage.”

Under Section 455 of the LGC covering the powers and duties of a mayor, the mayor has the authority to represent the city in all its business transactions and sign in all its behalf all bonds, contracts, and obligations and other documents with the consent of the council.

“That means that the mayor cannot enter a contract without the consent of the sanggunian (council). Therefore the purpose and intent of the recently passed ordinance is covered in the LGC,” Labella said.

The sponsor of the ordinance, Councilor Noel Wenceslao, said “We must do our best to protect the SRP’s interest not for us but for the people of Cebu and the future of Cebuanos” before moving for approval of the ordinance.

Councilor Ronald Cuenco did not oppose passage of Wenceslao’s ordinance.

Wenceslao clarified that passage of his ordinance was upon the instructions of former mayor Osmeña who opposes the mayor’s plan to sell new lots in the SRP.

Councilor Rodrigo Abellanosa said it was incorrect to say that the approved ordinance was a duplication of the LGC.

He said Section 5, which enjoins Cebu City officials and employees from participating in any SRP transaction, cannot be found in the Code.

It invokes section 12 of the Revised Charter of the Cebu city government which prohibits any elected official or employee from purchasing or having a financial interest in any contract or transaction with the city.

“This is something that must be known to everyone. It’s not in the Local Government Code,” said Abellanosa.

Asked why no public hearing was held, Wenceslao said none was needed because the ordinance has no penal provisions.

“It’s more of a map on how to protect the SRP,” he told reporters.

“That’s Tomas’ vision and I subscribe to that,” said Wenceslao.

On the benefit of waiting for SRP land values to go up, Wenceslao said “ That is the reality and sakto man sad na.”

Wenceslao said he didn’t consult the mayor beforehand about it and that it’s the mayor’s to veto it. /Marian Codilla, Senior Reporter

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