ONLY in its infancy, the Blue Ribbon Committee of the Dagupan Sangguniang Panlungsod is to a growing number of SP observers fast becoming a favorite stage for moro-moro performances, courtesy of the majority bloc. I am inclined not to disagree.
Here’s one comment from one of my numerous texters in my morning program over DWPR-Power Radyo:
“Makapalekmay agawan hearing na blue ribbon committee nenlunes. Say issue ya isusulong da amay direliction (sic) of duty nen Ms. Molina (dept. head agriculture) ..Naebatan la yana minangganoaray distinguish (sic) guests legally tan technically, anggapoy kasalanan nen Ms. Molina edsamanya isyu…Say makapalek, sicoun. Joey manfo-forum shopping ya antukaman ya isyu ya walani anonymous txterkuno. Abogado ka. Dapat anta to yaagakumon entertain so anonymous ya complaint….Makapalek.”
Here’s another text message from one of the listeners of the same radio program:
“Bakit sila nagpatawag ng blue ribbon session sa issues nawala naman palang formal letter of complaint sa sanggunian. Ang complainant si Mr. Sunday Punch…Sumulat siya ng complaint sa pahayagan nya pero walang sinubmit na formal complaint sa SP which is protocol. Bakit inaksyunan nila issues niya at higit salahat wala yung complainant nung nag blue ribbon committee session sila….”
The texter was asking if majority of our city councilors no longer have regard for protocol and that they have become subservient to a certain Mr. Sunday Punch.
Still, another texter was wondering why the Sangguniang Panlungsod through its blue ribbon committee has to prioritize the need for it to conduct legislative inquiries since the Commission on Audit is already conducting – if it has not undertaken any yet - a parallel investigation and that such other impartial probe bodies as the National Bureau of Investigation could be tapped to undertake further, unbiased and thorough investigation so that the SP could rid itself of such unwanted, unnecessary, and unwarranted obligation.
The SP, to me, is treading on shaky ground by inviting anonymous, unverified, unsubstantiated and informal complaints from all directions, of course, courtesy of the majority bloc allied with Her Excellency, Mayor(duma). And this is happening, I suppose, even without clear and solid house rules on the process by which legislative inquiries in aid of legislation, persecution, humiliation, grandstanding and whatchamacallit by the blue ribbon committee, in particular, shall be conducted to protect the rights of both the complainants and the defendants.
I will not be surprised if, after this column item, I will be summoned to the SP because of an anonymous complaint. Does the SP’s blue ribbon committee also entertain anonymous complaints involving private persons? But it has no contempt power, meaning its invitations for inquiry may be disregarded outright.
Who was it who said :“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”?
Ah, it was Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels, who was Adolf Hitler’s Propaganda Minister in Nazi Germany. It was also used in various forms and/or attributed to several dictators including communist leaders such as Lenin.
That was the dark period in world history when modern information and communication technologies such as the Internet, cellular phones, and regional television networks were non existent.
By entertaining anonymous, unsubstantiated and unverified complaints, the SP through its blue ribbon committee could place innocent city officials, employees or individuals and their families and kids in undue public ridicule and humiliation. People will eventually come to believe a lie if it is printed as news item or discussed in opinion pages in more than 20 local newspapers (excluding the national broadsheets and tabloids). Or if it is broadcast in the two regional TV networks, or broadcast and discussed in the programs of at least 15 local radio stations (both FM and AM). Provided, that the legislative inquiries are kept from the blinking klieglights of TV cameras or rolling tape recorders, especially of reporters controlled by Her Excellency at all times.
What pieces of legislation (including penal provisions) are expected to be hammered out from these legislative inquiries that are not yet spelled out in Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, or Republic Act 6713 otherwise known as An Act Establishing a Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees?
Also, we have Republic Act No. 6770, otherwise known as "The Ombudsman Act of 1989, Republic Act No. 381 or the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines, or the various presidential decrees governing the conduct and dispositions and actuation of government officials and employees.
To be effective and transparent, the SP’s blue ribbon committee ought to publish a hotline by which the public could text in or course through their complaints, particularly against city officials and employees, including the city mayor and councilors! I wonder if the blue ribbon committee will conduct anonymous complaints involving the incumbent city mayor, which complaints I deeply doubt would see print in the Sunday Punch. But the committee should not depend solely from what is hatched up in that paper founded by the highly respectable and venerable Ermin Garcia, Sr.
Will Honorable Joeynetu Tamayo entertain a provision in their house rules that would provide immunity for his fellow aldermen from investigation by his “powerful” committee?
I could now imagine a deluge of complaints through text and anonymous telephone calls flooding in and the SP, particularly its blue ribbon committee, will have its hands full conducting legislative inquiries and witch-hunting orgies rather than crafting much-needed ordinances and resolutions for the BalonDagupan of Her Excellency.
I wonder if Chairman Joeynetu will consider some questions that should be looked into. What is the truth behind the reports that OIC Budget Officer Luz de Guzman took it upon herself and two others the prerogative lawfully granted to the vice mayor, that is, the preparation and submission of budget proposals by heads of departments or offices?
Section 317, Chapter 3 of RA No. 7160 or the 1991 Local Government Code of the Philippines explicitly mandates in paragraph A: “Each head of department or office shall submit a budget proposal for his department or office to the local chief executive on or before the fifteenth of July of each year…”
De Guzman is neither the vice mayor nor a city councilor, but there are people who are asking some questions. Did she take the initiative to prepare and submit the proposed annual budget of the SP with two other city department heads? Is this not usurpation of power or conduct unbecoming of a public official, Chairman Joeynetu?
Are Ms. De Guzman and her cohorts so well-versed with the objectives, functions, programs and projects as well as manpower requirements (technical and legal experts, etc.) of the SP as to arrogate upon themselves the prerogative to prepare that office’s next annual budget beyond the scope of their duties and responsibilities as provided for by law? Or, have De Guzman and party acted upon orders or directive from a higher authority?
Is OIC De Guzman aware of Section 341 of the Local Government Code which states: “Without prejudice to criminal prosecution under applicable laws, any local treasurer, accountant, budget officer(underscoring mine) or other accountable local officer having any pecuniary interest, direct or indirect, in any contract, work or other business of the local government unit of which he is an accountable officer shall be administratively liable therefor.”?
Chairman Joeynetu, do you have any knowledge about who is the contractor of three covered courts costing P5 million each or a total P15 million which you, along with the other members of the majority bloc, realigned from the fund intended for the botched Maternal and Children’s Lying-in Hospital of the city?
Is it true, Mr. Chairman, your honor, that the contractor of the said projects is close to the heart of the OIC budget officer of the city who is also close to the heart of Her Excellency?
These are questions one cries out for answers, Mr. Chairman.
Kindly conduct a legislative inquiry, too, Chairman Joeynetu. Thank you very much and good luck!
Sa susunod na issue, ang title: “ Is It True that a Department Head Refused to Pay in Full the Unpaid 4-month Salaries of the Contractual Employees Working in the SangguniangPanlungsod Which Is Not Her Department or Office?”