By Mortz C. Ortigoza
The brouhahas and the circus continue in traditional, social and online media, brought by the consultation hearings by the City Councilors on the donation of the 1.2 hectares of land given by the brother of the mayor for the local government in Dagupan City.
One of the arguments of the opposition hinged on Section 3B of Republic Act or Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Acts as quoted by Councilor Red Erfe-Mejia on TV interviews and the social media says:
"Directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present, share, percentage, or benefit, for himself or for any other person, in connection with any contract or transaction between the Government and any other part, wherein the public officer in his official capacity has to intervene under the law".
He continued: “Sa madaling salita bawal gamitin ang kapangyarihan sa pansariling benepisyo” and “Ililipat ang city hall sa lupain ng pamilya ng mayor na kung saan ang lupa mismo at ang mga lupang nakapalibot ay pag mamay-ari ng pamilya ng mayor”.
MY TAKE: In case Mayor Belen Fernandez signed into law the ordinance, almost unanimously passed by the members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, the signature of the mayor could not be construed as abetting graft and corruption because the family owned land probably through a corporation (where the mayor divested her interest) would benefit tremendously because the lands there would appreciate their worth when buyers buy them.
The signature of the mayor was ministerial. She did not represent the Vox Populi, Vox Dei when the majority of the councilors debated and voted for the acceptance of the ordinance. It was the Councilors who represented the Voice of God and the people of Dagupan City that it was politically correct to accept the benevolence of donor Kerwin Fernandez, the sibling of Mayor Belen T. Fernandez, when the mayor signed the proverbial dotted line of the already approved ordinance.
“The acceptance of the mayor of the donation in behalf of the city government is immoral,” dissed by the opposition and critics.
The mayor could show to all and sundry that she is dispensable to the donation by vetoing it or rejecting it or ignore it, just like Vice Mayor Brian Lim when the ordinance accepting the donation needed his signature.
“You know Harold, the law knows about the nature and vested interest of elected public officials who could hostage the general welfare by not signing the law,” I told recently my radio tandem Harold Barcelona.