Amid the current struggle in forming a quorum among the members of the 14th Sangguniang Panlungsod, re-elected City Councilor Gregorio Roy Ventura stated today, Monday, May 23, 2016, that he will consider using “coercive power” to finally constitute a quorum in the Sanggunian.
The discussion took place in what was supposed to be the legislative body’s 151st session, where only six (6) members of the Council were present, led by presiding officer Vice-Mayor Luis Marcaida III and city councilors Matthew Mendoza, Modesto Rodriguez II, Victor Oliveros, Gregorio Roy Ventura and Primo Loreno. Secretary to the Sangguniang Panlungsod Samson Negosa said out of the 13 members of the City Council, only Coun. Peter Maristela is excluded in the counting because he’s currently outside of the country, making the necessary number of members on the floor to be at least seven (7) in order to constitute a quorum and allow the Council to push with the proceedings.
It can be recalled that last Thursday, there was a scheduled special session to discuss the request for legislative authorization of the changes and modification to the number of heavy equipment units to be acquisitioned in the Php300M sub-project between the City Government and the Land Bank of the Philippines. The session did not push through because of the unavailability of most of the members of the city council.
“Hindi ba puedeng puntahan ng seargeant-at-arms at ‘mapaaresto’ kung wala namang official leave?” Ventura asked. Police power may be used provided the move was approved by those present, Sec. Negosa said in reply to Ventura.
Vice-Mayor Marcaida, however, decided to determine first the reasons behind the unnoticed absences of some of their members. “I cannot make an order to exercise coercive power, let’s give them benefit of the doubt,” he said.
Marcaida also clarified that the issue on using “coercive power” and “disciplinary action” is only for purpose of discussion. “I don’t think we would want to take that road. Mga kasama din po natin sila ng mahabang panahon, medyo nagkahiwa-hiwalay lang tayo ng partido.”
After half an hour of waiting, Marcaida decided to terminate the discussion because achieving a quorum was indeed not possible.
Pending issue on alleged delayed remittances to GSIS is expected to be discussed next regular session of City Council, provided there will be a quorum.