Sangguniang members at odds with vice-mayor
By Elmer James Bandol
DARAGA, Albay (BicolToday.com/1-Feb-2013) – The lack of quorum again in last Tuesday’s regular session of the Sanggunian in this premier town was believed the aftermath of the animosity created among incumbent members of the legislative body following refusal by the Vice-Mayor and Presiding Officer to clear the issue that the distribution of Philhealth cards is being used in political campaign.
This came following the inquiry of Councilors Mabel M. Tan and Joseph M. Espinas to Vice-Mayor Carlito V. Baylon, presiding in previous regular session, who refused to answer regarding “secret invitation” for selected incumbent councilors to join in the distribution of Philhealth cards. The invite apparently came from Albay Gov. Joey S. Salceda and 2nd District Rep. Al Francis Bichara.
In the invitation discreetly passed on to favored Kagawads, the names of Tan and Espinas were intentionally omitted and asked Baylon why they were not “invited” saying “as if we are no longer members of the Sanggunian”. The name of Board Member Neil Montallana, who is running for councilor in Daraga town under the ticket of reelectionist Mayor Gerry R. Jaucian, was included instead.
Evading the councilors’ inquiry, Baylon said “I am not in a position to answer the questions” and left his chair as presiding and turned it over to Councilor Alex Comia. When asked why he left, Baylon told this writer that he has to attend to Philhealth card holders inside his chamber seeking his assistance as lawyer.
According to Espinas, important measures are always neglected due to lack of quorum putting the blame on Baylon. “Mahina ang liderato nya, bakit hindi nya makausap ang mga kasama nya para ma take up mga importanteng measures” Espinas said in his text message.
He likewise blamed the vice-mayor for delaying the received proposal of activities intended for Cagsawa Festival which was handed by the office of the mayor, thus, the Sanggunian failed to approve on it. The festival starts Feb. 1, with the intention to commemorate the catastrophic event that occurred in 1814.
Meanwhile, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Albay (SPA), in its 123rd regular session on Tuesday has called for a committee meeting under Board Member Herbert S. Borja, chairman committee on health, by inviting Philhealth Vice-President for Operations Orlando Inego to shed light on the current distribution of Philhealth cards.
Borja explained before the session that a meeting is necessary to resolve many issues that cropped up since second week of January this year during the distribution of the health cards. He set the said hearing on Feb 5, 2013, 9:00 AM at the session hall of the Capitol. He denied that he has knowledge about the “secret invitation” that leaked in Daraga.
Due to absences of some councilors whose term of office ends this year, so far, the Sangguniang Bayan of Daraga conducted about 50 regular sessions only in almost three years, not even half as compared to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Albay that made 123 regular sessions. Both scheduled their sessions every Tuesday. [BicolToday.com]
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