Moises Padilla councilors turn tables on vice mayor

Moises Padilla councilors Pedro Maquilat, Romulo Fajardo, Dowen Ogatis, Joenes Frias, Vincent Garcia and Tetey Aurelio (l-r) at a press conference Sunday.*Dolly Yasa photo

Councilors of Moises Padilla town in Negros Occidental turned the tables on their vice mayor who accused them of slashing this year’s Sangguniang Bayan budget.

Councilors Joenes Frias, Vincent Garcia, Dowen Ogatis, Romulo Fajardo and Tetey Aurelio at a press conference Sunday, January 11, said Vice Mayor Ian Villaflor was part of the deliberation that resulted to their reduced budget.

Frias decried that Villaflor portrayed them as the villains and his self as the underdog.

Villaflor earlier sought the opinion of the Department of the Interior and Local Government on the slashing of the budget and also wrote the Sangguniang Panlalawigan a letter of objection to the same.

The Sangguniang Bayan budget slash questioned by the vice mayor pertained to fuel, oil and lubricants from P200,000 to P1 and salaries and wages from P1,300,000 to P1.

The slashing of the budget was unanimously approved by the council with the vice mayor as the presiding officer, Frias said.

As a third class municipality Moises Padilla does not have an Office of the Vice Mayor separately, the office is part of the Sangguniang Bayan contrary to the vice mayor’s claim his office budget was slashed, Frias added.

Frias said that Villaflor took part in the deliberation that happened before they voted on the budget on third reading.

Villaflor claimed that based on their internal rules no amendment is allowed on third and final reading.

However, Frias pointed out that as presiding officer, Villaflor directs the flow of the discussion and opened the floor for deliberation thus in essence reverted to the second reading of the budget before the body casted their votes on third and final reading resulting to the unanimous approval of the slashed budget.

Ogatis said that they decided to slash the budget on the questioned items to P1 because of an alleged irregularity in the disbursement of funds.

He also claimed that there was a lack of transparency in the disbursement of the funds.

Ogatis reiterated that the slashed budget was approved by all members of the municipal council and was not politically motivated nor a personal attack on the vice mayor.

Garcia said that while the matter could be internally settled, the vice mayor opted to publicize the issue putting them in bad light, which left them with no choice but to defend themselves.*

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