Council should keep status quo: Labella

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Friday, August 29, 2014


CEBU City Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella is implementing a status quo in the operations of the Cebu City Council.

This, after Councilor Margarita Osmeña called to a meeting four members of Team Rama last week and asked that the caucus for the majority bloc and the minority bloc be merged into one.

Such move was agreed by Councilor Mary Ann delos Santos.

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Osmeña of the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) is the majority floor leader, while delos Santos is the minority floor leader.

In an interview with Sun.Star Cebu yesterday, Labella, an ally of Team Rama, said he would want the caucus of the minority bloc to remain separate from that of the majority bloc’s.

“I would rather maintain the status quo of each of our own caucuses for the sake of transparency, accountability and public interest,” he said.

The caucus of the majority bloc and the minority bloc are now held separately every Tuesday afternoon. The council holds its regular sessions at 8:30 a.m. the next day.

No discussion

If the caucuses of the two groups will be merged, Labella said it is possible that items or issues up for discussion in the council will no longer be properly discussed during the regular session as there may already have been agreements made in the caucus.

“The public or even the media will no longer know the nitty gritty details of the issue. They will no longer know the pros and cons, which are important in making opinions. With all due respect, I would rather maintain the status quo. There is really no substitute for free flow of ideas,” he said.

Also, Labella said the members of the council may have disagreements during their discussions, but their decisions at the end of the day are for the interest and the welfare of the City’s constituents.

Speed

Osmeña wanted a joint caucus to fast-track the proceedings of the session, which usually ends around 3 p.m. The same was the stand of delos Santos.

Labella said, though, that it is okay if the council sessions are long, adding that the sessions are only being held once a week.

“Being elected officials, we should adapt the virtue of patience and perseverance.

There is no need to hurry. After all, we do it for the people of Cebu,” he added.

Sought for comment about Labella’s pronouncement’s yesterday, Osmeña told Sun.Star Cebu that as far as she knows, the minority bloc has already agreed to the joint caucus.

Aside from delos Santos, the minority bloc includes Councilors Dave Tumulak, Hanz Abella and James Cuenco.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 30, 2014.

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