Putting things in the right perspective PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 23 August 2016 14:22

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

At the Zamboanga City Council, controversy after controversy is obstructing the independence of legislative responsibilities and its mandate of legislation. Political interference is giving a heavy pressure to some City Councilors who just cannot set aside political party loyalty and affiliation, even after election, that is supposed to end a political activity. Political patronage at the City Council is the real cause of disunity and divisiveness to an alarming point that some elected government officials interfere and treat the legislative body like an ordinary government department, disregarding the sanctity of parliamentary rules. This is disgusting for the public to accept and for the meantime, the city is in disarray for lack of legislation to control the day-to-day activities. Unless things at the City Council will be in its right perspective, the city and its residents will be forced to go astray.

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In one issue up to now, the City Council committee chairmanship for the 2016 reorganization is not yet completed to normalize legislation responsibilities. In another issue, the controversial appointment of a mandatory Indigenous Peoples (IP) representation has reached a level of incompetence to question the law and the decision of a government office tasked primarily to govern IP mandatory representation at the city Council. Needless to say, it is like “barking at the wrong tree”. Then on the other side of the issue, a City Councilor who has breached the law when he was not yet a City councilor is made a reference for the solution of a controversy that is far different in stature and history. There is no substitution in law.

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Agenda is prepared before the City Council deliberates but almost always those prepared agenda are not discussed because it is obstructed by a discussion and deliberation of a controversial issue that can be blocked and stopped by the presiding officer through the mandates of  “House Rules” or the force of parliamentary procedures.  Raising a “Point of Order” to question a current discussion is not a matter of right in a deliberation and can never overrule a presiding officer’s declaration of “Out of Order” when the discussion is not part of the agenda for the day..

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Table Talk was listening to an interview of District 2 Congressman Celso L. Lobregat over Tatak RMN with Bhong Simbajon hosting the program. It was regarding the status of a mandatory IP Representation to the city council who was able to secure a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) from the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Zamboanga city to hold on to his representation but was lifted two days ago rendering the TRO without force and effect. Congressman Lobregat opined that the case was not close pending an appeal from the NCIP en banc and Court of Appeal (CA). The IPRA Law or Rep Act 8371 is very clear and specific that the Court of Appeal will not decide on the merits of the appeal but only “REVIEW” but cannot change the decision of the Council of Elders if it is in order. In this case the Council of Elders decision and reason for appointing a new IP Mandatory Representative is in order, since the Regional Office of the NCIP affirmed the decision. Besides, the letter of appeal should be addressed to the Council of Elders in the area where the IP Representation is found and the decision of the Council of Elders in the city where the IP Representation emanates is final and executory if the NCIP Regional Office affirmed such decision because under IPRA all NCIP Offices are authorized by Rep. Act 8371 to act for the Commission. To rule otherwise on the same issue is “starre decisus”, the Law of Precedence “what has been decided on an issue cannot be decided again if it is of the same issue”.

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Scoop: Let the “wheels of Justice” grind freely without obstruction at the City Council and hands off to politics and politicians. The city of Zamboanga has to move on. It cannot afford to be stagnant in development for the simple reason of leadership. A true leader sometimes follows his people and not always his people follow the leader. Mahatma Gandhi of India followed his people that led to the independence of India from the British Monarchy. Agree or disagree.