TACLOBAN CITY-At least four municipal councilors of Carigara, Leyte cried foul after being allegedly “disregarded” by the majority members of the local council despite the former’s attendance and objections on the recent approval of the municipal budget and Annual Investment Program (AIP).
Municipal Councilor Dennis Garay said a “democracy crisis” apparently exists in the municipal council, depriving the minority the right to object on the matters raised during their sessions.
This after he alleged that the AIP during their recent session was approved without following procedural matters that should be followed in local budgeting and legislation.
Aggrieved by the action, he said they immediately reported and let the incident be recorded at the town police station, alleging that a copy of the annual budget was distributed among members of the council but they were not allowed to propose numbers of measures in the agenda.
“We were not recognized. We were not allowed to cast votes despite of our presence and opposition. Our vice mayor did not even recognize us even if we were strongly manifesting for some amendments,” he alleged, referring to municipal Vice Mayor Ulpiano Arpon Jr.
The Sangunaing Bayan of Carigara approved on Wednesday last week the more than P400 million AIP along with the P108 million annual budget of the local government unit, he said yesterday.
Four of them, including councilors Eduardo Ong, Joenlee Larraga, and Ma. Annabelle Crisostomo, personally went to the Sanguniang Panlalawigan of Leyte to submit their opposition on the approved municipal budget.
He said they are requesting the provincial legislative body to recall their budget and be referred back to their local council for appropriate deliberations and budgeting processes.
“We are seeking a relief from the Sanguniang Panlalawigan of Leyte, not just to correct the defective budget but to protect the institution, to protect the local council as a local legislative body,” he stressed.
On Tuesday’s regular session of SP-Leyte, he said the matter was not heard because of some priorities of the body. (ALVIN P. CARDINES)
Excerpt from Leyte-Samar Daily Express