Council turns down mayor’s request

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

THE Talisay City Council denied the request of Mayor Johnny de los Reyes to give him blanket authority to enter into contracts and transactions that are worth P3 million or less.

Councilors belonging to the Alayon bloc yesterday said the council needs to scrutinize some transactions of the executive department.

But de los Reyes and his allies accused the majority bloc of abusing its power, adding that the same party gave former mayor Socrates Fernandez, an Alayon member, blanket authority during his administration.


Legal impediment

De los Reyes’ request came to light after Councilor Valeriano Ylanan filed it as a proposed resolution before the council during its regular session yesterday.

Ylanan explained that giving de los Reyes blanket can speed up the implementation of some of the City’s current projects.

But Fernandez cited laws on procurement stating that the mayor can only enter into transactions worth P400,000 below.

Councilor Dennis Basillote, an ally of the mayor, said it’s not fair that de los Reyes does not have blanket authority while his predecessor, Fernandez, was given one.

Fernandez, for his part, said he didn’t ask for blanket authority, adding that it was the council that gave it to him.

During Fernandez’s administration, the council allowed him to enter into contracts worth P3 million or less.

He used this authority to ink the P3-million deal with Gleymark Inc. to build the tricycle parking lot at the Lagtang Public Market in 2011.

But Fernandez said his opposition (to giving de los Reyes blanket authority) was only meant to “protect” his successor from possible legal consequences.

“Let us respect the law,” he said.

Check, balance

Another ally of the mayor’s, Councilor Aldin Diaz, also voted against the request.

He said he believes the mayor’s projects must undergo the process of “check and
balance” before the council.

“I’m not against the mayor. I don’t think he needs the blanket authority because the City Council, regardless of political affiliation, has always supported his projects and programs even from the start,” Diaz said.

When Vice Mayor Romeo Villarante called for a vote on the matter, eight councilors, including Diaz, voted against the request. Only Ylanan, Basillote and minority floor leader Danny Caballero voted to approve it.

In a press conference yesterday, de los Reyes told reporters he had personally sought authority from the council to expedite some infrastructure projects.
He also accused the councilors who opposed his request of hampering basic services.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 13, 2014.

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