ILOILO City – A complaint for dereliction of duty would be filed against six Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) councilors and Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon for not attending the city council regular session on April 23.
The complaint would be filed before the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Office of the President, said Councilor Joshua Alim.
Ganzon as SP presiding officer and councilors Lady Julie Grace Baronda, Ely Estante, Leila Luntao, Irene Ong, Armand Parcon, and Jay Treñas did not show up at the session hall on the day the SP was supposed to tackle the recommendation of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) to declare a state of calamity due to the El Niño phenomenon.
“I have the minutes of the last regular session on April 23 nga nag-absent sila without official leave. I’ll forward this to the DILG and to the Office of the President,” said Alim.
With their absence, the SP failed to discuss the matter because there was no quorum.
“Ang ila pag-absent wala rason, nadula lang sila and that is tantamount to a possible violation sa oath sang office,” said Alim.
Councilor Mandrie Malabor was also not present but he was on official travel.
On the other hand, the councilors present on April 23 were Alim, Lyndon Acap, R Leone Geroche, Mandrie Malabor, Plaridel Nava, Eduardo Peñaredondo, Leizl Zulueta-Salazar, and Candice Magdalene Tupas.
In Resolution No. 4-209 recommending a declaration of a state of calamity, the CDRRMC pointed to the results of a rapid assessment conduct in 134 of the city’s 180 barangys. Of these barangays, 63 (not 49 as previously reported) were suffering from water scarcity affecting a population of 117,265 or 23,453 households.
The SP approval of the recommendation only materialized on April 26 during a special SP session requested by Mayor Jose Espinosa III. Ganzon, Baronda, Estante, Luntao, Ong, Parcon, and Treñas were still not around but this time they were able to file for a leave of absence (Luntao, on the other hand, was on official travel). Their leave of absence would be up to April 30.
In a press conference on April 25, Ganzon admitted he and the six councilors were opposed to the declaration of a state of calamity which would allow the city government to use its calamity fund.
“I cannot see any reason nga mag-approve kitIa (release) sang calamity fund, nga we have to declare a state of calamity. Gusto ko ‘ya specific, wala nabutang kon pila ang amount (to be disbursed). Target nila the whole calamity fund (but) ang kinahanglanon naton indi man amo na kadako,” said Ganzon.
Baronda, chairperson of the SP committee on social welfare and disaster preparedness, said the current situation did not meet the conditions to declare a state of calamity./PN