By Bohol Chronicle
Aggravating further the mounting outcry for the scrutiny of the city's second P50-million loan at the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), councilors allied with the city mayor rammed the passage of a supplemental budget in an apparently illegal session yesterday of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP).
City Vice Mayor Jose Antonio Veloso and opposition lawmakers Zenaido Rama and Anne Mariquit Oppus did not attend the "bogus" session calendared by the majority bloc Friday last week during another "unofficial proceeding" after the vice mayor himself called for an early adjournment due to uncontrollable conduct of some colleagues.
Councilor Bebiano Inting, the only member of the minority present yesterday, questioned the legality of the special session as this was called by Majority Floor Leader Edgar Bompat, instead of the vice mayor.
According to Inting, house rules of the city council specify that only the vice mayor, as presiding officer of the SP, can issue notices for special sessions, unless he is on official leave of absence.
The members of the majority however set aside Inting's query and pressed on the session's main agenda which was the passage of Supplemental Budget No. 1, Series of 2010.
Despite the protestations of Inting, the majority voted to pass the budget measure.
It may be recalled that dispute erupted over the insistence of majority councilors to take up the supplemental appropriation as special order of the day (SOD) in last Friday's regular session.
The opposition led by Veloso has been firm on their stand that the supplemental budget should not be passed until concerned department heads can provide program of works and detailed accomplishment reports on the first P50-million loan acquired by the city last year.
Moreover, program of works for the second P50-million loan was also demanded by the opposition but was never provided to SP members.
Councilor Oscar Glovasa, appropriations committee chair, berated SP secretary Mansueta Sale for excluding the budget measure as SOD, asserting that it was an urgent request of the city mayor.
Veloso stood his ground, coming to the defense of the SP secretary, who explained that the proposed supplemental ordinance cannot be taken up in plenary since the request from the city mayor did not bear the original copy of the purpose for the additional budget.
"The signed original document must be endorsed to the SP for the simple reason that the executive may implement changes without the knowledge of the SP which will approve the appropriation ordinance," Veloso stresed.
INVALID PROCEEDING, VOID MEASURE
Kag. Inting manifested during the start of the majority bloc initiated session that the proceeding is illegal.
He said holding a special session yesterday was not agreed upon by the SP before the vice mayor adjourned the regular session last Friday.
Although members of the majority stayed at the legislative hall and went on with the session presided by Bompat after Veloso and minority councilors walked out, SP house rules cannot take cognizance of the proceeding after the presiding officer declared adjournment. Only the majority decided to set the special session yesterday to take urgent action on the mayor's request for the supplemental fund.
Inting added that the notices for the special session was signed by Bompat, when in fact the vice mayor is not on leave.
Apart from these flaws, the distribution of the notices to SP members did not follow the minimum 24-hour rule, according to Inting, as he received notice late Monday.
Inting also said that since the session cannot be considered legitimate, measures acted upon by the council may also be void ab initio.
The opposition councilor stressed that if legal steps must be taken by concerned city residents, it must be done as early as possible to prevent the release of the second P50-million loan.
In response to Inting's objections, the majority bloc insisted that unless no lawful body rules the special session illegal, then the proceedings are officially authorized.