Drama at City Council: Cesar against Cesar PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 21 September 2011 16:55

Although it was not clearly determined whether opposition Councilor Cesar “Jawo” Jimenez violated the City Council’s House Rules for alleged misbehaving and unparliamentary during deliberation, Vice Mayor and Presiding Officer Cesar Iturralde yesterday reprimanded the alderman from Barangay Ayala by directing the Council’s security officer to assist the latter to go back to his sit after he was pointed as out of order.

It was the second time in recent years where a councilor and the presiding officer (vice mayor) engaged in a heated argument that almost resulted to a fistfight.
The first time was when former Vice Mayor Mannix Dalipe challenged former District 1 Councilor Charlie Mariano to a fistfight after a misunderstanding on the house rules supposed to be applied during the deliberation of a certain topic discussed in that particular moment.

Councilor Jimenez delivered his privilege speech yesterday during the Council’s advanced regular session relative to the alleged non-compliance of the city government in so far as the establishment of a sanitary landfill as provided for under R.A 9003 or the Solid Waste Management Act.

However, after the 20-minute privilege speech, Jimenez expressed disgust over the attitude of the members of the majority bloc when they started discussing the issue among themselves, of course using the podium, instead of them (councilors) interpolating him.

Jimenez said that despite the law that mandates all local government units to put up a sanitary landfill and get rid of the open dumpsite, the city government of Zamboanga, until now, has not lifted a finger on the matter.

Jimenez presented a slide show on the actual situation in Lumbangan dump in which he believes it needs to be addressed immediately to avoid accident and for the nearby residents to be free from illnesses caused by the unsanitary condition.

But members of the majority bloc discredited Jimenez’s observations and all of them made things clear that the city government under the leadership of Mayor Celso Lobregat is doing its best for the establishment of a sanitary landfill somewhere in Barangay Salaan, east of the city.

Dissatisfied with how the proceeding was being done, Jimenez raised a point of order while Councilor Rudy Lim was directing questions to his party mates like Councilor Nonong Guingona, Lilia Nuno, Rey Candido and Percival Ramos, whose respective Council’s committees have something to do with the presentation of Jimenez on the actual situation of the present open dumpsite in Lumbangan, this city.

Jimenez’ call for point of order was overruled by the presiding officer and when his turn came, he challenged any member to engage him in a debate on the real situation of the Lumbangan dumpsite and on the law that the city government  should implement. He was speaking on top of his voice.

At this moment, the presiding officer (Iturralde) told Jimenez to stop talking and ordered him to sit down not unless the majority members would still allow him to continue to speak.

Right there and then, Jimenez questioned Iturralde’s decision and urged him to cite any provision under the House Rules that can support his (Iturralde) decision.
The arguments became  heated until Iturralde ordered the two security officers to assist Jimenez to go back to his sit while the members would tackle whether or not he will be allowed to continue.

Jimenez refused to follow Iturralde’s order and instead, the duo engaged in a heated argument prompting the angry presiding officer to step down from where he was sitting and approached Jimenez.

Finally, the City Secretary found a certain provision in the House Rules that can possibly reprimand Jimenez.

“I was surprised when he (Iturralde) told me to stop talking about an issue that concerns the people of Zamboanga. He recognized me before I spoke and suddenly ordered me to stop when I started telling the whole truth that indeed, the city government has failed to comply provisions of the national law. Why, are they afraid to know the truth?,” Jimenez emotionally said while talking to newsmen after the session.

Jimenez’s alleged misbehavior has been referred to the Committee on Ethics led by Councilor Luis Biel III.
was has tasked to come up with a decision whether or not Jimenez actuations merit a possible Council’s action in the days to come. — Jimmy Villaflores