‘Am I being disrespectful?’

How can I be disrespectful when I sent official notices to all concerned including all Councilors of the committee hearing dated October 27, 2017, before the conduct of the public hearing on November 9, 2017? Why did they complain only after the Public Hearing was conducted?”

This was the reaction yesterday of Councilor Wilson Gamboa, Jr. on the press statement of Councilors Caesar Distrito, Em Ang, Cindy Rojas and Dindo Ramos accusing him of violating the Bacolod City Sangguniang Panglunsod (SP) Internal Rules when he conducted a Public Hearing on 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.

Gamboa stressed, “They have consistently and persistently cited Section 1 Rule VI of the Internal rules – which is not applicable to given facts – because I did not make any reference to a previously docketed ‘correspondences, letters, resolutions, ordinances, or privilege speech’ covered by said Section 1 Rule VI.”

He explained, “Therefore the November 9 Public Hearing was entirely a committee initiative calling for a public hearing or consultation, which is likewise not prohibited by the Internal Rules or any existing law for that matter.”

Gamboa added, “They questioned whether I have ‘conducted a committee hearing on subject matters that were not included in the agenda of the Sanggunian?’ YES, I have in the past, several times. Recently, I called for a committee initiated hearing or consultation with cockpit owners regarding cockpit fees and the Muslim Communities regarding Islamic burials ‘without seeking or securing any authority from SP’. How come I was not questioned on these? I did these as Chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means.”

“May I ask, ‘when Councilor Distrito assigned to his committee the correspondence regarding Real Property Tax Exemption on memorial parks, SP Correspondence No. 09-17-1088 and 09-17-1089 deliberated last September 26, 2017, when clearly it should have been assigned to the Committee on Ways and Means, was he acting accordingly consistent with the Internal Rules?” he added.

Gamboa said, “As Chairman of the Committee on History, Culture and Arts, I have already secured informative, enlightening and damning documents from the City Archives. These are records written from as far as 1937 onwards.”

“I likewise wrote to the president of the National Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Atty. Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo, and the Chairman of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), Dr. Rene R. Escalante, and IBP local chapter members for clarification on the Commonwealth Act No. 326, specifically on the transitory and effectivity provisions, which would be useful to House Bill No. 5875,” he also said.

Gamboa also stressed, “Rest assured that I will come up with a well-researched, comprehensive and enlightening position then submit such report to SP and Congress, which is basically my intention or if necessary to deliver a privilege speech.”

“Am I being disrespectful?” he said.*


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