By Felix ‘Boy’ Espineda, Jr.
SORSOGON CITY (BicolToday.com/29-Sept-2012) – The revelation of Sorsogon City Vice-Mayor Robert Ante Lee Rodrigueza that he is not seeking re-election raises speculations that he may challenge two-term Mayor Leovic Dioneda in next year’s election.
However, no pronouncement was yet made, but a litany of sins and omissions against the city mayor have been making the rounds, which vice-mayor Rodrigueza says is not happy at all in his role as heir apparent at city hall.
Appearing in a press conference with local tri-media here, the vice-mayor revealed that their family is not keen of having a political alliance with incumbent Mayor Dioneda for political expediency in the city.
Saying that the public attack by Mayor Dioneda to their family that even his forebears were not spared, is too much for comfort to maintain the alliance, among other things.
Vice-Mayor Rodrigueza disclosed their alliance was forged by the political leaders; the Escudero’s , Governor Lee and Dioneda back in 2010, was purely a political alliance without direct consultations with the people.
That Dioneda along his term was complacent because of the alliance, thus, abusing the status quo permissive of the alliance in running the affairs at city hall, he claimed.
“What are we now,” was the question aired by the vice mayor before the media.
Saying that they are now in consultation with barangay leaders and their options will be known by October 5, this year, the last day of filing of certificates of candidacy for elective positions in May 2013 election.
To serve as backgrounder, Mayor Dioneda, since June this year started a blitz campaign using the tri-media denouncing the excesses of Governor Lee’s family and, lately, did not spare even the parents of the governor in his public oratories. Comparing the almost 8 years at the helm of city hall, the mayor has belittled the accomplishments of his predecessor, Sally Lee, a two-term Mayor and wife of Governor Lee, on numerous occasions even questioning the sound administrative policy of the governor.
Knowing the swing mood of the mayor, sometime in June this year, Vice-Mayor Rodrigueza called a closed door meeting with city councilors, saying that he did not want to be drag in the political rift between Mayor Dioneda and Governor Raul Lee.
“Let us do our job as expected from us by our constituents. He was reaching out to the mayor but was considered a lesser one,” he was reported as saying that time.
“I’m reaching out to the mayor for the development of the city, but time and again I was given a cold ear”, he said.
His proposal for an executive- legislative agenda on various developmental concerns of the city was not given a second look. He believes that executive- legislative agenda is a tool for administrative efficacy and help resolves barangay concerns.
He was applying the knowledge he learned after enrolling at the Development Academy of the Philippines after his election, yet, his ideas were of no avail.
Taking the cause for his parents, the vice-mayor revealed that Dioneda is full of promises which remained as promises.
Citing the 2008 election promise of a city hospital, the failure to increase the city honorarium to barangay tanods in spite of an approved legislation; the decrease of one thousand pesos of BHW stipends from city hall; the delay in the release of salaries of low ranking city hall employees; and, the same with the bonuses; he then called on the public to ask the mayor to remedy the critical financial condition of the city which is now overdraft close to a hundred million pesos.
Sometime ago, it was revealed by the mayor to him that the city is bleeding fifty million pesos overdraft. For public safety program, the close circuit television to assist peace officers was freeze.
“What matters are infrastructure projects and signed contracts that are ill- advised,” Rodrigueza recalled, citing the radio and television program of the city government hosted by the mayor’s media spin-doctor and starred by him, causing the city treasury to bleed and gasp for the much needed fund to pay mounting obligations.
“The woes of the riding public and the transport sectors as a result in the favorable treatment by the mayor to few businesses in his development agenda was never considered affecting the tight budget of this sector,” he said.
He revealed the United Nations Development Programs in the city was started during the incumbency of then Mayor Sally Lee, and other foreign assisted projects on-going at city hall, are works of his (Rodrigueza’s) mother in her solicitude with foreign funding donors, as such, it could not be owned by the mayor.
Using the word “political blackmail,” Rodrigueza accused the mayor of using his position as a coercive measure among barangay officials perceived to be against him.
“Fund releases, as in the case of the one hundred thousand pesos fund assistance to each barangay, are selectively withheld, opposite to what then Mayor Sally Lee instituted during her term at city hall. It was revealed to him by affected barangay officials”, he said.
He likewise cast a dark color on the beautification of city streets, saying “that the barometer of good governance is not seen in the beauty of the city street”. [BicolToday.com]
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