Gamboa to Distrito: ‘It is my sacred duty to call for a public hearing’
“I owe it to the people of Bacolod City that when confronted with issues concerning their interest and welfare, I will be a Councilor who will be judicious, apprised, properly informed and enlightened,” Councilor Wilson Gamboa, Jr. said yesterday after fellow Councilor Caesar Distrito issued statement criticizing him for conducting a public hearing last November 9, 2017.
He stressed, “There is no rule or any provision in the Internal Rules or any Laws that prohibits any member of the Sangguniang Panglunsod (SP) to conduct a public hearing on matters involving public interest, moreso, if the issue is related to his/her committee.”
Gamboa, currently chairman of the SP Committee on History, Culture and Arts conducted a public hearing on the proposed House Bill no. 5857 declaring June 18 of every year as the Bacolod City Charter Day, instead of October 19 of every year (R.A. 7724), filed by Bacolod Congressman Greg Gasataya.
He explained, “It was clearly a public hearing that called for individuals with differing opinions on the proposed bill so I can be comprehensively apprised, properly informed and enlightened prior to formulating an official stand or position on the matter.”
Gamboa said, “Distrito might have been confused by the rule that only docketed correspondences can be deliberated, discussed or acted on the SP Floor. He might also be confused thinking that the topic discussed in that November 9 public hearing was in connection with a “resolution principally sponsored by him expressing full support to the House bill no. 5875.”
“That was not the case when I conducted the public hearing. The invitation sent to resource persons for the hearing absolutely made no reference to the correspondence of his Resolution docketed SP Resolution 09-17-1153 passed last October 9, 2017,” he added.
“Therefore, citing Distrito’s Internal Rules earlier published in several newspapers regarding committees’ conduct of a public hearing, quote, ‘a committee may constitute one or more persons appointed or designated or elected by the SP to consider, investigate or take action on an assigned subject matter’ does not apply at all,” Gamboa also said.
He likewise said, “But, may I ask Distrito, as floor leader, on the City Ordinance No. 08-16-776, series of 2016, regarding constructions along or near waterways recently referred to his committee despite the presence of an ordinance that it can only be referred to the SP thru the Committee on Environment and the SP Committee on Public Works - did he act accordingly under the law?”
Gamboa also added, “Referring to Distrito’s earlier published contention that I have no pending legislation, I would like to ask him, when you conducted a public hearing recently regarding the Speech Lab, was it a public hearing in aid of legislation or in aid of payment? Was there a pending legislation where such public hearing was conducted?”
He likewise explained, “Also read in his earlier press statement, he stated that I am not a congressman therefore cannot call for a public hearing. Let me remind Distrito that public hearing is not the monopoly of a congressman alone. A kagawad can call for a public hearing involving matters of public interest. Subsequently, the SP had made several actions concerning several house bills in the past. Therefore, one need not be a congressman to conduct a public hearing concerning a house bill,”
Gamboa also stressed, “On his argument read in the same press statement that there is already a Resolution supporting House Bill 5875, let me remind Distrito again that a resolution is just a mere sentiment/expression of a councilor(s), which I respected. It is the prerogative and right of each and every councilor to choose whether he would be out of the session hall, absent, abstain, object or approve whatever SP matter is at hand.”
He said, “May I ask Councilor Distrito about my being out of the session hall, when his fellow GP councilors left the session hall during a passing of a resolution which he authored, regarding the ‘illegal’ ukay-ukay along Gatuslao corner Rizal Streets, was the action of his fellow majority councilors an act of ‘Dereliction of Duty’? The real dereliction of duty is when I as Chairman of SP Committee on History, Culture and Arts did not act or said anything about the issue emanating from the House Bill 5875.”
Gamboa also added, “From the SP records we have an ordinance titled ‘Mga Adlaw sang Paghanduraw’ with June 18 as the highlight day that would give more meaning to the date ‘the Charter was signed’. Now, if according to Distrito, the City Ordinance 588, series of 2012, is referring to June 18 as ‘The Charter Day’, which he again authored, such Ordinance is ‘operating contrary’ to a national law, R.A. 7724.”
“With reference to citing former Councilor Carl Lopez and his ‘goose and gander’ quote, said matter does not apply in this particular case as explained above,” he said.
Gamboa sternly reminded, “History is the soul of the people, those who distort, deny, desecrate it, or in other words, ‘those revisionists’ or ‘historical negators’, murdered that very soul of the people.”*