By LITO RULONA
and NITZ ARANCON
THE previous city council gave its minority members committees to chair but they submitted no recommendation or proposal to the local legislature, Councilor Ian Mark Nacaya said on Wednesday.
Nacaya said this to explain the city council’s decision not to give the two members of the minority — councilors Jocelyn “Bebot” Rodriguez and Lordan Suan — any committee to chair.
Rodriguez has cried foul over the city council majority’s decision, saying it looked like a case of “sabotage” to her.
The decision, she said, was made by members of the majority inside the office of Vice Mayor Raineir Joaquin Uy a day earlier.
“I know somebody (is) behind this nga dili gyud kami hatagan og chairmanship,” said Rodriguez without naming names.
Suan also questioned why he and Rodriguez were not given committees to chair. He stood up during the regular session on Wednesday and asked Vice Mayor Raineir Joaquin Uy: “Mr. Chairman, unsa may rason nga dili kami ninyo hatagan sa committee chairmanship?”
Uy’s reply: it was a majority decision.
Nacaya said the decision was a prerogative of the city council’s majority and it was justified because they already learned their lesson. In the previous city council, he said, “We we gave chairmanships to members of the minority pero walay usa ka proposal nga na-submit sa city council plenary. Kini nga mga committee wala maatiman pag-ayo sa city council for reason that wala gyud makahatag og measures handled by the members of the minority.”
Nacaya said he was referring to the previous chairpersons of thecommittees on labor, senior citizens, and blue ribbon committees.
He said the new city council does not want that to happen again.
“The bias of the majority is to serve our people well together with the executive branch. Ang demokrasya is majority rule man. It just unfortunate nga dili nila masabtan unsay meaning sa demokrasya,” Nacaya said.
Rodriguez strongly disagreed with Nacaya’s point. “Democracy kana sa iyang version. Para nako, there will be a divisiveness ngano nga ilang gihapon nga gitan-aw nga dili mi kapartido. Humana ang election. We are competent and we are able to function with the background that I have being a public servant,” she said.
Rodriguez and Nacaya have a long history of political rivalry in vote-rich Barangay Nazareth where both served as barangay chairpersons on separate occasions. They have quarreled about serious and sometimes, petty points.
Rodriguez said she resented that she and Suan were not given committees to chair, asserting that they were capable and qualified to head city council committees but the decision was “a done deal.”
She said she had hoped that the city council majority would set aside partisan politics so all of them can fully serve their constituents.
“Gadoble-doble man ilang mga chairmanship. There are 30 committees unya wala bisan usa. That makes me wonder: Why?”
Rodriguez and Suan however found allies in councilors Zaldy Ocon and Roger Abaday who maintained that the minority members should be given committees to chair.
“Ako nang na-experience sa una, Mr. Chairman, nga wala koy committee. Kon mahimo ato lang hatagan sila,” Ocon told Uy during the session.
Abaday said he, too, knows how it feels not to be given a chairmanship in the city council, pointing out that the same thing was done to him by the Padayon Pilipino when it dominated the city council years ago.
Their plea on behalf of Rodriguez and Suan fell on deaf ears.
Councilor Edgar Cabanlas said most members of the city council don’t trust Suan and Rodriguez to work to help the Moreno administration in carrying out its plans for the city, and the committee chairmanships were seen as crucial.
“Nagduda ang majority, nga ilang isabotahi ang administration ni Mayor Moreno ug dili nila ila ihatud ang serbisyo ngadto sa katawhan,” said Cabanlas.
He said Rodriguez and Suan would need to earn first the trust and confidence of the city council majority.
“Basin mo-abot ang panahon nga duna nay trust and confidence ang majority member sa city council ngadto sa minority block, di mahatagan ra gihapon sila anang panahona sa committee,” Cabanlas said.
He explained that the chairmanships are not permanent and that even majority members could lose their committees if they fail to deliver.
Suan said he has no choice but accept the decision. “Wala man kami mahimo kay sila man (majority ) ang magbo-ot. Sige na lang,” Suan said.
Rodriguez said she has also accepted the decision although she questions its propriety.