Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wizardry in passing the growth areas’ law

By Mortz C. Ortigoza

Unknown to many, there was brilliance on the seven votes that expedited the approval last June 6 by the Sangguniang Panlungsod (Council) of Dagupan City’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP).
RECONVENE. Dagupan City Councilors allied with Mayor Belen T. Fernandez mapped out their 
plan to reconvene the session arbitrarily adjourned last June 6 by Vice Mayor Brian Lim and other
 minority aldermen.
 Except from Councilor Jig Seen who inhibited himself, Councilors Maybelyn Fernandez, Jesus Canto, Netu Tamayo, Alvin Coquia, Jigs Seen, Marcelino Fernandez, and Marvin Fabia unanimously passed the much needed economic law.
Earlier, the law's opponents led by Vice Mayor Brian Lim and Councilors Red Erfe-Mejia, Guillermo Vallejos, and Alfie Fernandez joined the illegal adjournment of the session.
I called it illegal because Vice Mayor  Lim arbitrarily dismissed it while an agenda was being discussed and the dismissal was challenged by an objection from Councilor Netu Tamayo.
The councilors who approved the CLUP would end their term at noon of June 30.
Those who will succeed them will be those who were elected and reelected in the May 9 election.
If the CLUP and the approval of the June 21 land zones for the conversion of the agricultural lands to commercial happened with the new set of councilors, the CLUP and the zones could not be approved.

With Seen (brother-in-law of the mayor) inhibits himself because his family owned some real properties in the CLUP’s area, Mayor Fernandez would have six aldermen as allies who could fail her to muster the needed majority to pass the much needed ordinances.
In La Carlota City versus Rex Rojo (click jurisprudence here), the Supreme Court said that the manner of counting for qualified majority includes the presiding officer like the vice mayor even he only votes for a tie of votes of the aldermen.
 In Dagupan City, the complete majority, including the vice mayor, should be seven versus four.
With the new set of councilors allied with the mayor, she has Maybelyn Fernandez, Dennis Canto, Netu Tamayo, Alvin Coquia, Jigs Seen, and Marvin Fabia  while the  opposition  have Lim, Vallejos, Mejia, Nick Aquino, and Chito Samson.
It means that would be seven councilors including the president of the Liga ng Barangay on the side of the mayor while four aldermen on the side of Vice Mayor Lim.
But in the old set of solons at the legislative body whose official function would expire at noon of June 30, without Seen, the mayor has still seven aldermen versus the three opposition dads in Alfie Fernandez, Vallejos, and Mejia for the CLUP.
This number game's chutzpah would be repeated again on June 21 where they pass the needed ordinance to convert those agricultural lands to commercial purposes as linchpin to draw investors like Ayala Estates, SM Properties,  Megaworld Business Park , others that will provide jobs for the people in Pangasinan.
Mayor Belen told the press last June 8 that SM is welcome in Dagupan City.
Whoever advised the mayor to fast tract the approval of these two flagship ordinances was a political wizard!
“Bigyan ng jacket at cellphone iyang tao na iyan!”

But wait, what is this? I found it disturbing that the CLUP was approved in June 6 on the second and third readings.
“Was it not legal to approve two ordinances in one session?” I posed to Councillor Tamayo before the press conference called by the mayor at the Stadia last June 8.
Okay lang iyon,” he told me.
My poser was prompted by Section 52 paragraph  C of the Local Government Code that says “ No two (2) sessions, regular or special, may be held in a single day”.
Then I read at Northern Watch's “Amid controversy, Dagupan passes land use plan” by lined by our editor Yolly Fuertes that Vice Mayor Lim will be suing the pro administration aldermen based on this section.
My advice to the pro-Fernandez council members: Since they still control the majority in the June 21 session, they should include in their agenda the third reading of the CLUP and vote for it to cure the infirmities brought by the June 6 session and thus avoid unnecessary legal monkey wrench thrown to their direction.

(You can read my selected columns at and articles at Pangasinan News Aro. You can send comments too

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