Committee revamp sparks controversy at City Council PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 17 January 2014 11:46

Unity among elected city officials which many thought had come when Mayor Beng Climaco assumed office last July is now under question as four of the six minority councilors expressed disgust on the minor reorganization that was carried out among City Council committees few hours after the mayor’s State of the City Report (SOCR) last Wednesday.

The four councilors — Melchor Ray Sadain, Rommel Agan, Josephine Pareja, and Juan Climaco Elago — disagreed how their counterparts in the majority decided on who to chair the important committees left behind by former Councilor Abdurahman Nuño, who was defeated by newly-assumed Councilor Jerry Perez, in a hotly-contested elections for Liga ng Mga Barangay’s (Association of Barangay Councils) presidency last December 18.

The disputed started just as Councilor Charlie Mariano moved during last Wednesday’s 2nd regular session for the body to approve the newly-effected reorganization of Council committees, where Nuno’s Committees on Barangay Affairs, Environment and Natural Resources, and Muslim Affairs, respectively, were seen to have been distributed to three majority councilors, who themselves are already chairing more than one committees each.

In the said listing, Mariano is set to handle the Committee on Environment, apart from his Committees on Public Utilities and Ordinances and Resolutions, while Councilor Myra Paz Abubakar, another majority member, is to take charge of the Muslim Affairs Committee, leaving the Committee on Barangay Affairs to Perez, as Nuño’s successor.

“Treachery has been done, and there was no parliamentary courtesy extended. We were not even invited to a caucus to discuss about this issue, and now we are just made to swallow all of this,” protested Sadain, in the midst of deliberations.

Agan said he felt deceived, adding that “junto ya gane quita ta kome cada vez akaba el sesyon, despues ansina pa hace kanamon?”.

Elago was also overheard in a radio interview commenting that those councilors having more than one committees never get satisfied, and would still grab other available committees for them.

Amid disappointments, Elago decided to resign as chairman of the Committee on Awards, after Sadain declared his resignation as chairman of the Committee on Local Governments, as well as, his memberships of other committees.

For his part, Agan is dropping off his chairmanship of the Committee on Human Rights, while Pareja is leaving her chairmanship for Games and Amusements committee.

Only Councilor Cesar “Jawo” Jimenez decided to stick it out with his present Disaster committee chairmanship, saying that “I have no problem with the present administration, and I have to respect the majority. We (in minority) have to realize that there exists a political reality. At least, our counterparts in the majority have started listening to the voice of the minority, whenever we talk, and I no longer find any problem dealing with them.”

Meanwhile, Mariano said that what happened is a clear indication that democracy prevails in the council.

“They (minority) have to accept that LDP (Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino) councilors are still the majority in this august body, and whatever decision we come-up with, should be respected,” Mariano explained.

Mariano admitted though that such reorganization was tackled during a recent party caucus without the minority councilors not invited, “as this is purely party matters, so only LDP councilors were invited”.

“Under a democratic society, it is the majority’s decision that prevails over that of the minority, especially, on important issues confronting both parties,” Mariano clarified, over RPN’s ‘Zamboanga, Tiempo Ya!’ radio program last Wednesday night. — Philip Abuy