Seares: Time to (cat) the crap in Paz-Ahong squabble over City Hall office space

News sense

THE controversy started as a legal issue: whether a Lapu-Lapu City Council ordinance justifies Rep. Paz Radaza’s continued use of a legislative district office at City Hall.

The ordinance was declared invalid in a legal opinion of Secretary Eduardo Ano of DILG, the Interior and Local Government department, which oversees LGUs like Lapu-Lapu City. That should’ve settled the row; it didn’t. The Radaza camp raised the dispute to court.

Tainted ordinance

Some foul smell emits from the ordinance. It was midnight legislation, cranked out by a Radaza-controlled City Council just a few days before Paz’s term as mayor expired. Two other House members, one after the other, had occupied the office before Paz: her husband Arturo and her daughter Aileen. With no ordinance, they got it rent-free, with free water, electricity and other perks from the city, which was then run by the Radaza matriarch. And Paz as congresswoman would like to continue the unbillable ride.

Thus the ordinance was tainted from the start until now, when “Cong” Paz uses it to fend off eviction. The glaring personal benefit from the ordinance, with public interest taking the back room, granted during the dying days of their rule, should’ve also made the former mayor exit gracefully when DILG said, Let go. It has not.

Exasperated Chan

Mayor Junard Chan, who made at least two written demands for Paz to leave, is exasperated over her defiance, which waves in his face the disturbing fact that he who is supposed to run and control the building, cannot make an undesirable, if not illegal occupant, leave.

Fortifying his side is the DILG opinion, which supports “presumption of regularity.” Most people also frown on public officials latching on to a dubious claimed right, just like tenants or visitors who have extended their stay.

His failure to implement the eviction though isn’t flattering on Mayor Chan’s persona as chief executive. He manages the City Government’s vast resources. Yet it took him him more than seven weeks to use such simple equipment as plywood sheets and new padlocks. Even after that, the Radaza camp still managed to set up tables and chairs at the corridor for it to do business near the shuttered office. He is reportedly changing IDs at City Hall-–just to keep away five to 10 people?

‘Wimp’ vs. ‘dragon lady’

Apparently, that brings an image of a “wimp,” helpless against a vaunted “dragon lady.” That’s bad for Chan who must keep improving his chances of staying beyond a single term.

Worse, Mayor Chan contributes to the silly tableau where he has mounted a counterpart “ad hoc” office that is supposed to cater to his own supporters.

Unbelievable. Why by Magellan should he do that when City Hall already has the needed department offices in the same building? Both camps are being ridiculous by competing like merchandizers.

Enough of cat fight

Now this cat poop story, which has moved the bar of silliness and nonsense a few notches higher. Last Tuesday (Aug. 20), Radaza workers found cat waste “scattered” at their work premises, leaving some to spare in a bag.

Immediate and principal suspect was Mayor Chan. And obviously his tongue was not bitten by a cat since Chan managed to return fire with a joke: He hadn’t ordered any cat to poo at ground zero; even if he had, the cat wouldn’t have obeyed him. True, he couldn’t make a dragon heel, could he do better with a cat?

True about that. Cats don’t just crap anywhere. They have their litter box or, for street cats, their favorite spot somewhere. And they poo at a place to mark territory, not to infuriate a congresswoman or please a mayor. Cats don’t flaunt waste by publicly displaying it. They hide it, unlike some public officials who figuratively do their sh-t in public.

Enough of the cat fight, guys. And change scenes. You’re starting to embarrass the people who voted for you as Lapu-Lapu’s best.


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