Tomas bars dep’t heads from appearing before city council
Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña has barred City Hall department heads from appearing in regular or executive sessions in the city council.
Osmeña said he would not want the department heads to be subjected to the “grandstanding” or “witch hunting” of the councilors.
Last week, the city council, dominated by the members of the opposition Team Rama, scheduled an executive session inviting General Services Office (GSO) head Rolando Malacora, but he did not show up.
The councilors would have wanted Malacora to explain why Labangon Barangay Councilman Rodolfo “Rudy” Tabasa was arrested by GSO personnel for not returning his city-issued vehicle and to find if Malacora was really the one who ordered the arrest.
Osmeña said he would rather that the department heads and other officials from the executive department talk to the media than appear before the city council.
“I will allow them to talk to media because I think you are more reasonable. They are not under restrictions for the sake of public transparency. But the council, no,” the mayor told reporters.
Councilor Edu Rama, a Team Rama-allied councilor, said he hoped the mayor would reconsider.
“The situation is unfortunate. Hopefully, it won’t be the case. There are things we need to clear with the executive department especially in terms of the budget and other emergencies,” Rama said when sought for comment.
But Osmeña’s directive was reminiscent of the order issued by former mayor Michael Rama who also barred department heads from appearing before the city council, which was then dominated by allies of Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK), without getting his permission first.
In March last year, a memorandum was issued by then city administrator Lucelle Mercado reminding department heads of a 2012 memo issued by Rama which stated that requests for appearance in the council should be coursed through the mayor’s office for approval.
Back then, Rama lamented how department heads were being grilled and humiliated by councilors from the other party.
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