CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña may be one of the reasons the opposition councilors were a no-show during last Tuesday’s regular session, but he is not bothered at all.
In fact, he wants them to not show up at all, if possible, to make the discussions in the council session run smoothly.
“I hope they do this all the time. Hapsay kaayo ang session (The session proceeded smoothly). The city will be better off if they’re not there because there’s no grandstanding,” Osmeña said.
But Councilor Joel Garganera said it’s the mayor’s absence, and not theirs, that would be beneficial to the city.
He said Osmeña has not been productive and the lack of infrastructure to address flooding is an example of that.
Unlike the usual regular sessions that last for at least two hours, the session last Tuesday ended without its usual intense discussions, adjourning an hour after it started.
This was because the councilors of Barug Team Rama boycotted the session to protest against the “blatant” calls to oust ex-officio member and Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) president Philip Zafra.
Despite their absence, the council still proceeded to tackle the items in the agenda.
In a privilege speech he delivered last week, Councilor Sisinio Andales said that Zafra lacks the authority to continue performing his duties as his term may have already expired following a memorandum issued by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) dated Sept. 6, 2017.
It states that Republic Act 10923, or the law that postponed the October 2016 barangay elections, directed the holdover of all incumbent barangay officials, without similar extension on their ex-officio representation at the municipal, city and provincial councils.
Osmeña earlier said that Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan will take legal actions to push for the ABC president’s removal.
The mayor admitted that ousting Zafra is their way of regaining the majority in the council.
Opposition Councilors Joel Garganera, Raymond Alvin Garcia, Edu Rama, Jose Daluz III, Pastor Alcover Jr., James Anthony Cuenco, Zafra and Joy Pesquera found the pronouncements as a “flamboyant parade of bad faith and malice.”
But for Osmeña, the council session is not the right venue for the opposition’s protest.
He added that many Barug Team Rama members and allies have filed several charges against him in an effort to remove him from office, and that they are being bitter players after “having a taste of their own medicine.”
“They wanted to sabotage the session not realizing there was still a quorum. We’re doing what we have to do, whether we have the majority or not,” he said. (RTF)