OPPOSITION Councilor Teodolfo Lao has taken to task Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Constantino Jaraula for defending Vice Mayor Vicente Emano’s absenteeism at the City Council.

“The law clearly states that one of the vice mayor’s tasks is to preside in all meetings and sessions of the City Council,” said Lao, as he questioned the mayor for appointing Vice Mayor Emano as head of an anti-crime task force.

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Lao said he found it ironic for Jaraula to make Emano an anti-crime czar when the mayor himself has not been acting his part as head of the City Peace and Order Council (CPOC).

The councilor noted that since Jaraula took power in 2007, the latter has only convened the council once.

Jaruala had earlier tasked Emano to lead the so-called Peace and Order Task Force, amid the series of deadly robberies in the city most of which are done brazenly in broad day light.

In appointing the vice mayor to the post, Jaraula said it was better for Emano to head the task force than attend City Council sessions. Members of the legislative body can take care of presiding the session on rotation basis, he added.

The mayor said Emano’s attendance in the weekly session was a “waste of time” and that the latter himself a former mayor should focus on more important matters, particularly on peace and order.

Lao said Jaraula’s “act of consenting the absenteeism of his party mate sets a bad example to the youth who look up on their officials as models of integrity in government service.”

“It is also unbecoming of our mayor, who himself is a lawyer and a constitutionalist at that,” the councilor said. “Nowhere in the Constitution does it state that you can dictate your responsibilities in office, or substitute it with something of your own liking.”

Besides, Lao said appointing Emano head of an anti-crime group was misplaced, saying that during the latter’s nine-year stint as mayor, robberies were prevalent in the city.