City terminal rising into a political issue

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Newly constructed Sorsogon City Grand Terminal. PHOTO BY ENGR. WILFREDO GETULIO P. RODRIGUEZ III
Newly constructed Sorsogon City Grand Terminal. PHOTO BY ENGR. WILFREDO GETULIO P. RODRIGUEZ III

By Felix ‘Boy’ Espineda, Jr.

SORSOGON CITY (BicolToday.com/01-Oct-2012) – The consultative meetings of city ward leaders by the group of Governor Raul Lee are signs of a possible head-on collision with City Mayor Leovic Dioneda based on the pronouncements by Jose Vicente Duran, a known political ally of the governor.

Duran deplored the attitude of the city mayor in his personal attacks against the family of his political patron, and rebounded by accusing the city mayor of favoring only one business enterprise to manipulate the flow of commerce in the city.

He was referring to LKY Group of Sorsogon City which entered into a Memorandum of Agreement and Understanding with city hall in 2008, to develop the moribund Sorsogon Shopping Center, builds and operates a city bus, jeepney and van terminal at the fourteen- hectare property owned by the business group in Barangay Balogo.

For two consecutive meetings, the issue in the operation of Sorsogon Grand Terminal never fails to get adverse reactions from their ward leaders. Duran’s pronouncements can make the operation of the city terminal as a political issue.

The assertion of Duran, that Dioneda is solely interested to a personal treasury rather than the city treasury, is near truth, proof he said, that close to a hundred million deficit of the city treasury is likened to hunger knocking on the door for public service, adding that city hall lost millions in collectible revenues because of the transaction.

The issue of collectible taxes and the burden added to the commuters in using the terminals are becoming hot topics outside the city proper. Duran earned the mimicker as the “Goebbels” of the Lee family from political observers here.

“The riding public is at the mercy of the unscrupulous tricycle drivers who overcharge fares in going to the grand terminal, this issue is never treated by city hall administration, fearing for a backlash within the transport group which are not satisfied with the new traffic scheme,” said Duran.”The issuance of executive orders of Dioneda suspending provisions of city ordinances to implement new traffic scheme is unconstitutional.”

“It cannot be avoided, the people should know, that Dioneda is favoring one investor only, sacrificing the many who toiled years ago to make the city proper a business hub,” Duran explained.

However, Mayor Dioneda is not sitting idle with the accusations.Time and again the city mayor pointed to his economic agenda that brought new landscapes, business opportunities, investors and employments in the city that were not addressed in the past eight years of stewardship of Duran’s political patron.

People closed to the city mayor defended Dioneda’s actions by saying that not all will be pleased when a political will is drawn, as they said, “you win some, you lose some”.

Dioneda supporters revealed that Lee and company took ownership of prime lots fronting the city hall compound as a financial security during their time at city hall. They pinpointed the prime location at the housing facility at the back of city hall for city employees which were cornered by them. The record they said is available at the city planning and development office for scrutiny.

Because of the MOAU, the two- term city mayor, together with members of the third city council, were accused by Redentor Lasay at the Ombudsman for violating the anti-corrupt and practice act which Dioneda believed was a ploy of Duran.

It was also Duran who filed a civil suit to block the implementation of the project at the local court here, which the court ruled unfavorably against him. The case sparked a word of discontent from the city mayor.

Privately said and over the airwaves that Duran wants to fill the void of political power after the departure of Lee, further questioning the character of Lee’s political ally as a man of dubious character, said city hall insiders.

It will be recalled that for expediency, Lee and Dioneda coalesced their political machinery the last two elections with the approval of Dioneda’s political patron the late Congressman Sonny Escudero. With the passing of the congressman, political ambitions flew thick and fast that it was destroying the coalition. Collaterally, the not-so-pleasant pronouncements of Mayor Dioneda against the Lee’s and his people, and the unrelenting fodder of Duran against the city mayor and his group may not sit well for a possible coalition by 2013. [BicolToday.com]

Copyright 2012 BicolToday.com. All rights reserved.  Read BicolToday.com Syndication Policy.

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