Consultants Incorporated

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By Tibs Palasan, Jr

Spark of Law

Friday, February 21, 2014


THE midpoint between sanity and insanity is the ludicrous. The appointment of city consultant is hilarious.

The dictionary defines a consultant as somebody who is an expert and gives advice.

After a crushing defeat, the pink warrior has resurfaced from the tomb. The majority of the city council has appointed Dongkoy Emano as consultant. Presumably, the former mayor, having been a mayor for several terms, and one term as vice-mayor is an expert on legislation.

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If the record of the former mayor is to be the measure of his legislative expertise, then we may expect the city council to suffer downward spiral. As mayor, Dongkoy Emano would not allow any dissent from any city councilor who was elected through his bandwagon. Onerous contracts were entered by the city government and these contracts were passed by the city council, railroading the minority members of the council.

Dongkoy Emano as vice-mayor was his worst. He did not preside over the city council nor attend its sessions. On paper, he was the vice-mayor but his designates did the dirty job of presiding the city council.

Given that the compensation for the consultancy is only P1.00 still, it is onerous for local governance, not because of the pecuniary consideration but the harm it will cause the city. It is public knowledge that Emano calls the shots on how the majority of the city councilmen decides. His consultant status elevates his shadowy role to the level of open propaganda, a clear posturing for 2016 elections. Expect then for more circuses.

The man has been in the limelight for so many years. Being closeted after the electoral defeat, he wants again the glare of media attention. The consultancy status is a good reason for more public debate about his deeds and misdeeds. Publicity, good or bad, is still publicity.

Unfortunately though for the Moreno administration, he cannot complain. For one, it’s the prerogative of the city council to hire its consultant.

Second, Mayor Moreno hired a consultant as traffic czar Jose Uy who acts and publicizes his so publicly known role as the “Hapsay Dalan” operation head. Jose Uy for all the legal veneer of consultancy status is actually the head operative, the chief implementer of the city traffic. Jose Uy struts around not as consultant but the chief executioner of traffic policies.

This is not to say that Jose Uy lacks the expertise in traffic matters, although concededly, there are respected experts in traffic engineering.

What is fatally defective is to appoint a losing candidate within one year from defeat. The spirit of the prohibition is that the election defeat is a rejection by the sovereign for the losing candidate to serve in the government. Appointing the losing candidate within one year from electoral defeat thwarts the will of the constituents.

There should not have been a problem had Jose Uy acted the role of a consultant. But as is endemic among politicians, coveting media attention is irresistible. A consultant acts only when consulted but he does not participate in the implementation. A real consultant is not exposed to the media. He is a less-known personality. Obviously, every politician cannot be content with mere consultancy. He wants to be at the field of action, and hug the headlines.

It is a legal truism that he who comes to the law must come with clean hands. Mayor Moreno cannot now complain against the appointment of Dongkoy Emano as city council consultant. Nor can Mayor Moreno complain if Dongkoy Emano will not be limited to consultancy status but will be the grand maestro of the orchestra that is the city council.

Mayor Moreno cannot expect the city council to correct its wrong if in his own backyard, a wrong is perpetrated. Parity in misdeeds will keep the parties to account for their own.

The bottom line over this consultancy issue is still politics. In politics, it is not only sanity and insanity that collide, but the ludicrous and the serious as well.

The result is a circus, clowns and puppets coveting the audiences’ applause.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 21, 2014.

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