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City youth officials witness SP walkout

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By Ralph John Mijares

 

ROXAS CITY—Councilor Julius Abela led a walkout from the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) Session Hall Nov. 11, an act witnessed by students who participated in the Boys and Girls’ Week recently here.


Walking out from the session with Abela were councilors Jose Agdalipe and Matthew James Viterbo after he asked his fellow SP members to leave before the committee reports.


Abela wanted to suspend the rules, which Vice Mayor Ronnie Dadivas allowed. The former then inserted a resolution signed by nine councilors declaring a loss on confidence on Dadivas because of technicalities on how the ad hoc committee probing the alleged selling of tricycle franchises was created.


Said councilors who signed were Erwin Sicad, Trina Ignacio, Cesar Yap, Matthew James Viterbo, Jennifer Poliran, Erlynne Lim, Jose Agdalipe, Julius Abela, and Virgilio Santos. Councilors Powell del Rosario and Corazon Tiangco did not sign.


In the resolution dated November 11, nine councilors also vowed not to attend any session as long as Dadivas is the presiding officer.


The vice mayor, they said, is “deliberately, intentionally, and maliciously disregarding the rules of procedure of the SP by arrogating into himself the dictatorial powers in deciding the actions of the Sangguniang Panlungsod.”


Dadivas wanted Abela to sit down and warned him that he will be sent out of the session hall because he was “out of order.”

 

The vice mayor called for a break. Abela asked the councilors to leave the premises of the session hall. Then, the session was adjourned.


Like in the November 4 session, Abela, Committee on Rules and Ordinances chair, did not sign the session's agenda. Since he did not sign, there is no agenda, he said.


According to SP Secretary Dino Beluso, Abela told him that he wanted to include the letters he and Celino addressed to the SP requesting the probing of Dadivas in the session.


Abela said in a letter dated October 24 that he wanted to know the legitimacy of the ad hoc committee created by Dadivas to investigate the alleged selling of tricycle franchise and its effects on the Sangguniang Panlungsod.


Celino in a letter dated October 27, also asked the SP to probe Dadivas but this is because of his vice mayor's allegations against him about the selling of tricycle franchises.


Also dragged in the tricycle franchise controversy were Gerald Artates, the one who allegedly sold tricycle franchise number 172 and reportedly claimed to be working for Celino; the mayor's son and San Jose barangay captain Jericho Celino; Tricycle Franchise and Regulatory Unit (TFRU) head Mariano Layno.


Dadivas said that he was unaffected with the said resolution because he was “elected by the voters.”


According to Dadivas, a consensus was made with the councilors present in the session last October 14 since there was no objection from them.


Abela was absent that time because he was the officer-in-charge of the city mayor's office, Dadivas said.


Dadivas said that the request of Mayor Angel Alan Celino and Abela to probe him have “no legal basis” and the SP has no jurisdiction to handle it. He suggested referring these to President Benigno Aquino III instead.


The committee hearings were done “in aid of legislation” since there could be changes needed in the ordinance that created the Tricycle Franchise and Regulatory Unit (TFRU), Dadivas said.


The SP, Dadivas said, he does not want a “rubberstamp Sangguniang Panlungsod.”


“I have always been vocal about issues in the city government,” Dadivas said.


Celino said Dadivas was “politicking”, but the vice mayor denied it.


Dadivas was reportedly running for mayor in the 2016 elections. He might clash with Celino, who has one term left.


He said that the timing was wrong since the walkout was seen by the students. “That is an act unbecoming of a Sangguniang Panlungsod member. There could have been other ways.”


“It was supposed to be their (the students) time,” Dadivas said.


The Boys and Girls Week of the Rotary Club of Roxas gives high school students the chance to be counterparts of government officials.


The students sat next to their older counterparts during the November 11 session.


At this writing, one student said it was “refreshing” to see what happened between Dadivas and Abela. Others refused to comment.

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