THE pro-administration majority bloc has gone overboard in exploiting their numbers, the minority members of the Cagayan de Oro City Council said.

In a complaint filed before Malacañang late last year, the opposition bloc accused Vice Mayor Vicente Emano and his colleagues in the majority of converting the City Council into an "exclusive and private affairs of the administration party in power."

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The three-member minority group lamented that they have been deprived of "service vehicles"- a privilege that everyone in the majority enjoys, including the assignment of a secretary for each.

Being in the minority group in a legislative body has its natural limitations; one can't choose his or her own committee membership-if any-and it takes a fluke or extreme altruism for the controlling party to allocate chairmanship to somebody outside their own milieu.

Also included in the list of the grievances of the minority is their "token" membership to the standing committees, where all of them are "ex-officio" members. An ex-officio member can neither vote nor be voted on any position in the committee.

"The herein complainants practically have been deprived of their role as City Councilors as if they are not part of the City Council," said Councilors Roger Abaday, Teodulfo Lao and Zaldy Ocon in their five-page complaint addressed to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

A senatorial candidate in the Kapatiran Party - Manuel Valdehuesa, Indahag Barangay Chairman Carmelito Damo and a local non-government organization member Greg Macabodbod joined the councilors in the complaint.

The complaint also touched on the absenteeism of Vice Mayor Emano in the City Council, where the latter has not presided since its inaugural session in 2007. By this paper's count, Emano has not presided for over 120 sessions.

They accused the vice mayor of "deliberately avoiding to attend" to his official functions, "to the great prejudice and damage of the city and the constituents."

In its totality, the complaint seeking Emano's suspension charged the latter for dereliction of duty, grave misconduct, gross negligence and unbecoming of a public official.

His allies in the City Council, however, have consistently defended him over his absenteeism, saying the official is not breaking any law by rotating his duties to other members of the City Council.

Emano has declined an interview for this article.

In his letters to the City Council informing of his absence, Emano would say he was attending to "other matters of equal importance" to his duties at the legislative body. (DVAIII)