Team Rama councilors slam Tom’s ‘no consultants’ move
Calling it unfair, Cebu City Councilors of Barug Team Rama criticized Mayor Osmena’s decision to not approve the hiring of consultants of the city legislators.
Councilor James Anthony Cuenco, Cebu City Council’s minority floor leader, said the mayor’s decision is unfair especially since the budget for the consultants of all city councilors is under the vice mayor’s office, and that this has been approved by both the Council and the mayor himself.
Cuenco said that the mayor should not have the prerogative to withhold it.
“Since I will end up spending for my consultant using my private money, I might as well ask him to do a thorough research on the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit project),” he said, adding that he would soon deliver a privilege speech extensively discussing the demerits of the Cebu BRT project.
Cuenco’s consultant is Alfonso Alvarez, who started reporting for work last July 1.
Consultants of city councilors have a contract of six months with a monthly remuneration of P18,000. The consultants that were denied by the mayor were for the month of July until December.
Osmeña said that he would not approve the hiring of consultants of some of the Barug Team Rama councilors, claiming that these councilors are against his administration.
“(I will not approve their consultancy) because they are against me. Why will I let them work against me? I will allow the consultants of Edu (Eduardo Rama) and Daluz (Jose Daluz III) because they voted for the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit),” Osmeña said.
He also said he would approve the consultants hired by Philip Zafra.
Cuenco, for his part, lamented that they are already expecting to become the majority in the Cebu City Council following the expected resignation of Councilor Nendell Hanz Abella.
When they become the majority, he said they would reclaim the committee chairmanships of the Council and would be needing their consultants to help them on their committee works.
Cuenco said they are also looking into legal remedies regarding this situation.
Using gov’t money
For her part, Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera said she would continue to voice out what she believed is right.
“He is using government money as his own. And being an elected official, I am also entitled to a consultant because that was what has been appropriated and approved by the City Council and by him as mayor,” Pesquera said.
She, however, refused to name her consultant.
Councilor Raymond Garcia added that the mayor should be fair and that he should not get involved in the affairs of the City Council which is an independent body from that of the executive department.
“What a mayor. That’s people’s money. Pero kung iya nang ihakog, ilimos ko lang na niya (If he withholds that, I’ll just give it to him as alms),” said Councilor Pastor Alcover Jr.
Alcover’s consultant is lawyer Melvin Legaspi.
Last week, Alcover and Councilor Joel Garganera showed reporters a copy of a document signed by the mayor which stated that he has denied their consultants.
For his part, Councilor Garganera criticized the mayor for going after opposition councilors.
“Consultants are there to aid the councilors in promoting, protecting, providing expert advice on what is good for the city and its constituents, not the mayor,” he said. /With Correspondent Inna Gian Mejia
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