Acting Bacolod Vice Mayor Ricardo Tan yesterday said he should not be blamed for the lack of quorum during the July 25 and Aug. 1 sessions since he did not create this problem.
Tan said it is Mayor Evelio Leonardia who should be blamed for this because he allowed the councilors to go abroad. So he holds the mayor responsible for the lack of quorum because he is the one who has control over the majority of the SP members.
Why should they make me a scapegoat for the lack of quorum? he asked. This is unfair to him and the people of Bacolod, he added.
Tan said he only signed the leave applications of Councilors Em Ang and Bart Orola, as the acting vice mayor. But he was not aware that other councilors will be travelling abroad.
Tan was reacting to the statement of Leonardia that he should blame himself that the Sangguniang Panlungsod failed to have a quorum during its two recent regular sessions.
Leonardia said this is because Tan was the one who approved the leave applications of Ang and Orola.
Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran along with Councilors Caesar Distrito, Cindy Rojas, Dindo Ramos, Renecito Novero, Ang and Orola had left for Long Beach, California late last month for investment promotion and trade and tourism missions but are expected to attend the session today.
Leonardia said the absence of these councilors was not the reason why there was no quorum since there was enough councilors left.
It is because of poor leadership that he could not gather a quorum, he said.
Leonardia said he only signed the leave application of Familiaran since the vice mayor is under him, while the leave application of the councilors should be signed by the vice mayor.
He said their travel will gain more positive things compared to what happened here, and that this will eventually reap benefits for Bacolod. Most of all, the city did not spend for their travel.
Tan said Department of Interior and Local Government Circular No. 2018-03 provides that their request for travel authority should be submitted to the DILG Secretary within 15 working days prior to the date of departure.
This simply means that the vice mayor and the councilors concerned have planned their travel to America ahead of time or several weeks before they went abroad. Otherwise, their request for travel authority would have been disapproved by the DILG Secretary, he said.
If Leonardia said he was able to send the six councilors to the US, he has also all the power to stop them from travelling if he saw that their absence will cause a problem, Tan, who approved the leaves of all the councilors, said.
“Instead he blamed me. But he is to blame for the lack of quorum,” he said.
If he were the mayor of the city, this would not have happened, Tan also said.*CGS
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