(File photo from MacArthur Mateo Asutilla)

Rizal mayor Otol Odi defended his stance to veto his Sangguniang Bayan (SB) members’ proposal to slash the local municipal health budget and add P6-million to the SB office.

Odi reportedly vetoed this move before the SB finalized Rizal’s 2022 municipal budget, which they still have not yet finalized due to the veto.

Rizal municipal government’s MacArtur Mateo Asutilla, who narrated the events on a Facebook post dated January 24, said that as town mayor, Odi has a right to veto any proposal by the Sangguniang Bayan if the need arises. He added that reducing the Municipal Health Office’s (MHO) budget would be a hindrance to their duties, especially amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

Odi, who was criticized by some due to the veto, said he hopes they will understand his decision and not point out his move as a grave abuse of authority liable for an administrative case.

“Ang akin lang naman ay gusto ko sana na ibalik ang pondo ng executive na dinagdag nila sa pondo nila, kasi ‘di naman ‘yon makatuwiran. Sana bigyan din nila ako ng karapatan na magdesisyon kung saan ko gagamitin, kasi ako ang mayor ngayon ng Rizal,” he was quoted to have said by Asutilla.

“’Yong MHO natin dapat hindi din bawasan ng pondo, kasi kailangan natin sila lalo na ‘yong mga doktor,” he added.

Likewise, Odi explained that he did not arrive at the decision alone and that he first consulted with the Provincial Legal Office, Local Finance Committee, and other officials of the provincial government.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.