BACOLOD City government has passed a resolution in Wednesday’s regular session questioning the legality of the hearing that Representative Monico Puentevella conducted last February 12.

The hearing was about the city’s controversial P250-million loan with the Philippine Veterans Bank. It was conducted despite a cancellation order issued by the office of the House Committee on Local Government chaired by Representative George Arnaiz on February 11.

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The resolution seeks for the opinion of House Speaker Prospero Nograles, Representative George Arnaiz, chairman of House Committee on Local Government, House of Representatives, House Committee on Banks and Intermediaries, and House of Committee on Ethics on the “legality, validity and propriety” of the hearing that Puentevella had conducted.

Also it sought to determine if the hearing was “within the purview of the House Rules.”

Councilors Homer Bais, Al Victor Espino, Roberto Rojas, Greg Gasataya, Dindo Ramos, Alex Palglumotan, Napoleon Cordova, and Kevin Daniel Ramos and Diosdado Valenzuela authored the said resolution.

According to them, the hearing that Puentevella presided was “self-organized”.

Earlier, Puentevella wrote the House committee on Local Government through his authored House Resolution 1479, asking for a hearing on the city’s loan but was cancelled. However, the lawmaker pushed through the hearing without Arnaiz.

“To the surprise of the city officials and the public, Puentevella, the author of the proposed House Resolution 1479 and the number one oppositionist of the city’s major relocation project, had proceeded the conduct of his own version of public hearing without the attendance of the honorable chairman and not even one of the House Committee on the Local Government present and without the presence of a single official of House of Representatives stenographers,” the councilors said in a statement.

But in response to media interview, Puentevella noted that he called and informed Arnaiz about the hearing schedule and in turn, he said he was advised by Arnaiz to to proceed to conduct the hearing if he so desires.

“I was authorized by him (Arnaiz)” said Puentevella last week.

The city officials scored the lawmaker that he, being a mayoralty candidate, holding such “a desperate public hearing together with some attendees politically identified to be his own allies and supporters, and in a circus mannered style proceeded the conduct as moderator, presiding officer, accuser, complainant, prosecutor and judge rolled into one, putting into a complete ridicule, shame and insulted the city officials before that public hearing of him and which was converted into his own political dramatic exhibition.”

The officials said: “It is the solid brief of the incumbent city mayor (Evelio Leonardia), especially those who have supported the major project of providing relocation site to the thousands of informal settlers to be beneficial to the less and unfortunate people of Bacolod City, appropriate, valid and legal.”

He (Puentevella), being a congressman, was just using his clout in the House of Representatives to politically persecute and embarrass the city officials in complete disguise of the so-called in aid of legislation, the officials said.

“We strongly believe, Puentevella by displaying arrogance in political power play just to execute his theatrical political harassment technique against the city officials,” the officials said in a statement.

Further, the officials said that both House of Congress and the Senate have already adjourned, “but Puentevella deliberately, manifestly and arrogantly defiant of that House Committee on Local Government’s cancellation order to the supposed congressional public hearing, proceeded by way of usurpation of Arnaiz’s authority. He created a self-engineered political circus.”

Meanwhile, Leonardia urged the House of Representatives to act and censure the actions of Puentevella by usurpation Arnaiz’s authority as chairman.

Secretary to the Mayor Vicente Petierre III also agreed that the actions of Puentevella should be censured, stressing that the solon should set as an example as a law-maker.

“He must be a law abiding citizen of Bacolod,” said Petierre.

Petierre said it will be a very good test in a legal point of view in the usurpation of authority, “which I believe that he (Puentevella) had violated considering that there was no authority from the Committee of Local Government for him to conduct the hearing despite of the notice of cancellation of public hearing.” (MAP)