Council fails to override Osmeña’s veto on FOI ordinance
They tried, but the majority bloc of the Cebu City Council failed to override the veto of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña on the Freedom of Information (FOI) ordinance earlier approved by the council.
Councilor Jose Daluz III, author of the FOI ordinance, moved to override the mayor’s veto during the City Council’s regular session yesterday afternoon.
“We really need this ordinance to make a statement that Cebu City is supporting transparency,” he said.
But Councilor Alvin Arcilla objected to it prompting Councilor Sisinio Andales to move for a voting on the plan to override.
Only eight councilors agreed to override the veto, which falls short of the needed two-thirds or 12 votes in order to validly override the veto.
Six other councilors voted against the planned override.
Aside from Daluz, the other councilors who supported the move were Joy Pesquera, Raymond Garcia, Joel Garganera, Jerry Guardo, Pastor Alcover Jr., Edu Rama and James Anthony Cuenco.
On the other hand, Councilors Arcilla, Andales, Dave Tumulak, Mary Ann de los Santos, Margarita Osmeña and Joy Young voted against it.
Councilors Philip Zafra, Eugenio Gabuya Jr., and Nendell Hanz Abella were not around during yesterday’s session.
The FOI ordinance, which was approved by the City Council in December last year, aims to implement full disclosure and transparency in public service and uphold the constitutional rights to information on matters of public concern in City Hall.
Under Daluz’s ordinance, those who wish access to information at city hall should submit a letter request to the concerned office which should respond within seven days.
In his veto message, Mayor Osmeña said that while he recognizes the constitutional right of the people to information, the city should respect Congress which is yet to approve a bill on FOI.
He said the Senate and House of Representative are yet to approve Senate Bill No. 1733 or the Act Implementing the People’s Right to Information and the Constitutional Policies of Full Public Disclosure and Honesty in the Public Services and for Other Purposes.
“It is our belief that local legislations should be anchored and in consonance with the national laws,” he said adding that it would be prudent for the city to wait for the approval of the bill.
Osmeña also suggested that the city should instead implement Executive Order No. 2 of President Rodrigo Duterte on the FOI covering all government offices under the executive branch of government.
This would prevent confusion and duplication, he said.
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