Councilor Ong questions legitimacy of passing P4.5B supplemental budget
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City Councilor Franklyn Ong, president of the Liga ng mga Barangay and Kasambagan village chief, has questioned the legitimacy of the passing of the P4.5 billion supplemental budget (SB) on July 28, 2021.
Ong delivered a privilege speech during the council’s regular session seeking the guidance of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on the passing of the SB when the only 8 members of the council approved the resolution.
He argued that under the house rules of the 15th Sangguniang Panglungsod (SP), an affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the Sanggunian is required to pass an ordinance and not the majority of the members present during the session constituting a quorum.
However, under the Local Government Code Section 9, it is stated that “Ordinary motions or resolutions may be approved by a majority of the members present, there being a quorum. The affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the Sanggunian shall be necessary for the passage of any ordinance or resolution directing the payment of money, contracting of indebtedness or liability, providing for the expenditure of public funds, the adoption of the local development plan and public investment programs, and other such matters provided for in the Local Government Code of 1991.”
Passing of SB might be illegitimate
Ong said that the passing of the SB might have been illegitimate since the house rules would imply that an affirmative vote must constitute a majority of the members of the council, not only the majority of the members present even if the quorum was achieved.
It can be noted that only 14 out of 18 members were present during the passing of the SB, which constitutes a quorum.
However, if Ong’s argument is to be considered, the affirmative votes of eight members falls short of the majority of the total number of members in the council, which should be nine.
“Balikon nako pag sulti Mr. Chairman, na ang Minority ni raise aning mga pangutanaha dili para mobabag nor mo delay sa budget but tungod kay kini parte sa atong duty as legislators or elected city officials, to make sure na we have to be prudent, transparent and responsive sa atong budget kay kini kwarta sa katawhan,” he said.
(I repeat Mr. Chairman that the minority raised this question not to block nor delay this, but this is part of our duty as legislators or elected city officials to make sure that we have to be prudent, transparent, and responsive to the budget because this is the money of the people.)
“Pag cast sa vote sa motion kung approbahan na ba ang supplemental budget 1 last week, pipila kanamo ni request na i-explain ang among vote but wala na mi tagai ug higayon,” said Councilor Ong in his privilege speech.
(When we cast the vote on the motion if the supplemental budget 1 would be approved last week, some of us requested to explain the vote but we were not given a chance.)
DILG, DBM opinion sought
With this, Ong is asking the opinion of the DILG and the DBM if such approval can be considered legitimate so that the council members and the public may know if the budget can be spent or not.
Councilor Raymond Garcia, majority floor leader, said that the DILG was clear that a quorum and majority vote would be required to pass an ordinance or budget.
Still, the council approved Ong’s request and Councilor Eugenio Gabuya, Jr., said the council must wait for the opinion of the DILG and DBM.
While waiting for the opinion, the supplemental budget can still be spent as appropriated as there has been no resolution to stop the utilization of the budget.
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