A TECHNICALITY prevented the Cebu City Council from overriding the mayor’s veto of the ordinance setting aside 10.6 hectares at the South Road Properties (SRP) for a sports hub.

During the council's first regular session of the year yesterday, 11 councilors voted in favor of overriding the mayor's veto.

But the local legislative body was divided on what constitutes a two-thirds vote.

Councilors Eugenio Gabuya Jr., Mary Ann delos Santos, Hanz Abella, Alvin Dizon, Lea Japson, Nida Cabrera, Sisinio Andales, Margarita Osmeña, Roberto Cabarrubias, Nestor Archival and Alvin Arcilla voted to overturn the veto of City Mayor Michael Rama.

But Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, presiding officer of the City Council, said that one more vote is needed to override the mayor's veto.

Labella, a lawyer, invoked the February 2001 legal opinion of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), which provides that the legislative body's presiding officer should be included in the determination of the two-thirds vote.

Opinion

The same DILG opinion cited a 1999 Supreme Court jurisprudence stating that “since the presiding officer is a member of the Sanggunian, per the case of Gamboa vs. Aquirre and Araneta, and since during that particular session he was present, he is to be included in the determination of whether or not the simple majority vote was met.”

Since there are 18 members of the council, including the vice mayor, Labella said two-thirds should be composed of 12 votes.

Gabuya disagreed with Labella.

He cited a 2007 DILG opinion, which states that the two-thirds vote should only come from the regular members of the council since the presiding officer can vote only to break a tie.

Due to these contradicting opinions, the council decided to refer the result of yesterday's voting to the DILG 7.

Labella said the implementation of the ordinance is “suspended” or held in abeyance.

Gabuya, one of the proponents of the measure, appealed to the mayor to consider his stand on the establishment of a 10.6-hectare one-stop sports hub at the SRP.

Property

Addressing the mayor's concern that the council is stripping him of his authority to “safeguard the resources of the City Government,” Gabuya said that the sports facility will remain the property of the City.

He said having a sports facility at the SRP will decongest traffic around the Cebu City Sports Center.

He said the SRP sports facility will feature a parking area.

Rama opposed the ordinance, saying that 10 hectares for a sports facility at the SRP is too big and may cause the City Government to lose much-needed revenues. The mayor proposed a five-hectare sports hub.

But Gabuya said five hectares is too small. “Isa ra man tingali ka-basketballan ang maigo ana (That will only house one basketball court). So how can we call it a one-stop sports hub?” he asked.

Rama said he will not withdraw his veto. He said that the councilors should respect Labella’s position.