Council’s committee distribution stalls PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 27 July 2016 15:14

By BHONG SIMBAJON

After 26 days down to their second regular session yesterday morning, members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council) was not able to arrive at a decision with regard to the distribution of the 33 standing committees of the august body.

This after the second of the series of negotiations between the ruling political groups of “Team Colorao” and “Team Amarillo” have not met both ends after their first agreement on committee distributions last week.

To recall, after the heated arguments in their maiden session on July 19, the councilors decided to have an executive session where they discussed among themselves the equal sharing of the 33 standing committees. The said session held at a restaurant last week encountered a small hitch which was expected to be ironed-out the day before the 2nd session happened yesterday morning.

However, due to some circumstances, three of the members of the “Team Amarillo” who had earlier agreed with some matters in their previous executive session changed their minds and opted to claim their choice of chairmanships for the Committees on Education, Agriculture and Trade and Industry. Said committees were already part of the negotiated committees which were chosen by the “Team Colorao” during their initial negotiations. Due to this, the first agreement  was scrapped wherein “Team Colorao” asked for chairmanship of only nine out of 33 committees, while the remaining 24 were given to the ruling “Team Amarillo”.

As a consequence, the presiding officer then asked each member to express in public their respective position on the matter for everybody’s perusal and conformity. But the situation heated up when other members became insistent and did not want to give in to the ongoing negotiations.

Speaking in terms and calling for unity, ABC President Jerry Perez stood up amid plenary discussions and called on everyone to set aside their political differences as election is over and they should work together for the people as one body.

“Mas Bueno era a quel si man cuento kita todo, cay taqui kita para servi con el ciudad, nuay aqui personalan.. Union era kita qui, taqui kita para servi cay ta ekspecta canaton mucho el mga vivientes de Zamboanga, “Perez said.

Councilor Juan Climaco Elago moved for the creation of the Committee of the Whole to tackle pending and important matters which the presiding officer may convene and ask the said committee to settle to normalize the situation. This move, Elago said is only not to paralyze the city council while committee chairmanships issue is still unresolved.

However, Councilor Charlie Mariano raised a point of order declaring that there is no basis for creation of the Committee of the Whole as of this time as it is a violation of the house rules and the said committee can only tackle one matter at one time and not everything.

The councilors met in a close door session in one of the committee rooms wherein they discussed once again their prior decisions and the implications of the defiance of the three members of the “Team Amarillo” from the prior agreement reached during their first executive session in Sta.Maria. After almost an hour of exchange of opinions, and forced walked-out of some of the members present due to unconformities, the body decided to adjourn their session and resulted to another stand-off awaiting results of another negotiation from both parties with no words and being mum on the media. The members decided to authorize the presiding officer to release the official statement to the members of the media covering live the proceedings in the city council yesterday.

In his official statement, Vice-Mayor Cesar Iturralde revealed that both parties have decided to designate their respective “pointman” who will negotiate with their respective groups with regards to the foiled attempt to distribute  the committee chairmanships.

Iturralde said that “Team Amarillo” designated Councilor Cesar Jimenez, Sr while “Team Colorao” designated Councilor Mike Alavar as their respective negotiator for the said matter.

“As of now, there is no guarantee on this matter until the negotiations from both camps are done. Each has their individual positions and consideration should be undertaken just to overcome their respective committee choices, bien tormento gayot,” Iturralde stressed.

He said that if after seven days and until the third session next week, nothing will transpire, the presiding officer will have to resort other means or alternatives. — Bhong Simbajon/RMN New