(Jimenez seeks Mariano’s expulsion due to court case ) Bitter word war erupts during maiden session PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 21 July 2016 14:23

By BHONG SIMBAJON

The supposed-to-be solemn and unifying ceremony of the city council  maiden session last Tuesday, turned into a scene of skirmishes and  bitter word war by some members of the august body belonging to two rival political groups that have fought in the last elections.

Intheir respective inaugural messages, majority of the elected councilors called for unity, transparency, dedication and embrace the true meaning of public service, setting aside political affiliations and political interests.

Even Mayor Beng Climaco-Salazar called for the same message to all the members of the council, to be united and work together for the best interest of the city, supporting the executive agenda as well as the plans and programs of her administration.

Earlier in his inaugural message, District 1 Councilor Rudy Lim expressed his wish for the Tuesday event to turn into a memorable day of beginning in the city council.

“I hope that after this beautiful ceremony, there will be no political colors, as many of our dear colleagues said. But this is a dream. This afternoon you will know, and you will find how reality works in a political body,” Lim said.

He reiterated an appeal to his coleagues to set aside their political colors and work together as one collective body.

“Era puede kita trabaja junto, era puede kita man-dalihan..pero era as we go on we will found out, because reality is different from ideals,” Lim said.

But when the maiden session proper arrived around 2 pm, the atmosphere completely changed after the wind of politics enveloped the council session hall.   After the call to order, the enactment of the House Rules and the passage of a handful of introductory resolutions and referrals, an exchange of bitter words erupted among Councilors Juan Climaco Elago, Cesar Jimenez, Sr. and Charlie Mariano.

Elago and Jimenez proposed for the expulsion of Mariano as a member of the august body, saying the latter is facing a case in court which was the  subject of complaint of Jimenez and his coleagues filed before the Commission on Elections at the height of the election campaign period.

Jimenez said that under the adopted House Rules, Mariano cannot serve as a member of the city council and perform his task if the case he is facing which has been decided will be considered.

Mariano however explained that the case is not in any way related to his functions and services as a city councilor, but it is in his personal capacity as a private citizen.

“I did not commit infraction as a public official, it has nothing to do with any of my functions as a member of the august body that citation is inequitable,” Mariano said.

Mariano explained that any misbehavior of any member should be decided by 2/3 votes of the entire council and it cannot be decided neither by the presiding officer himself.

“We’re talking about the case which is now pending at COMELEC, that is beyond the authority and capacity of this august body. Our house rules cannot supersede a national law which clothes COMELEC to hear the petition filed against me by the Team Amarillo,” Mariano said.

He said that if the objective is political, everyone must consider their respective tasks and must remember that politics is over and the people has decided on their choices.

“Si habla el COMELEC disqualified yo, I am willing to leave the council anytime even tomorrow, but let the COMELEC decide and not Councilor Jimenez dictate my faith as a member of the august body,” Mariano said.

Jimenez said that Mariano, being a veteran member of the council, should know better with regards to the implementation and provisions of the house rules which should be considered before any collective body may convene for its composition, and as a member he must be the first one to respect the rules

Mariano howeverargued that the members should respect and finish that case in the COMELEC first, but not to use the house rules to go against him and expel him.

As the heated argument continued, Councilor Kim Elago was prompted to call for an executive session and adjournment.

Elago emphasized that having their own rules and ethics among councilors they all have the authority or jurisdiction on what to do as members of the august body.

Elago asked his coleagues to talk among themselves during the executive session and not before a live coverage of the media that was being watched and listened by the people.

“Let us adjourn, sit together and talk in an executive session. We don’t need to immediately rule on anything, we are here to show that the city council is a working body, and everybody should be heard, all the councilors can freely express themselves. — Bhong Simbajon/RMN News