April 15, 2024

Members of the city council referred to as the “seven abstainers” are being asked again to accept their chairmanships following the reorganization of the city council committees which the court ruled as valid and pending the resolution by the court of what constitutes a majority vote.
Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan, during March 6 city council meeting, reiterated the committees assigned to the councilors after the reorganization.
This call was supported by Councilor Fred Bagbagen, who delivered a privileged speech during the same council session, saying the council members are enjoined to accept their respective chairmanships after the court denied the temporary restraining order prayed for by the seven councilors who claimed that the reversal by the vice mayor of his earlier ruling that carried the motion for reorganization during a previous session is invalid.
“Quo vadis city council of Baguio? As we await the resolution of the court as to what constitute a majority, the way to move forward for the city council to continue serving the people of Baguio is to respect the court and the ruling of the presiding officer that since there is no TRO, the motion to reorganize is carried, there being a majority vote of 8 against 7,” Bagbagen said.
He said the ruling of the vice mayor as the presiding officer is controlling as it is the rule of law and based on the principle of regularity of official functions, it stays as the rule to be followed, as the city council cannot operate in a vacuum until ruled otherwise or nullified by the court.
He said the court and presiding officer have spoken and it should be respected.
Bagbagen said the seven councilors did the right thing in going to the court to challenge the ruling of the vice mayor but he advised they should refrain from giving their personal opinions on the matter as the question on what constitute the majority vote is still being awaited for decision.
“It is unfair and undermining the court that after failing to get their relief, the abstainers cannot go back again to the city council and insist on their interpretation of what the majority rule is. Rightly so, I agree that this is a case of forum shopping aside from being contemptuous,” he said.
He made the appeal as the vice mayor, he reminded, has already extended “an olive branch on bended knees” for them to accept their chairmanships.
Bagbagen delivered the privilege speech following an impasse pending the resolution of the civil case filed by Councilors Benny Bomogao, Lourdes Tabanda, Elmer Datuin, Leandro Yangot Jr., Mylen Yaranon, Vladimir Cayabas, and Rocky Aliping that also challenges the ruling of Olowan as regards the interpretation of what the majority rule is.
He said the impasse would consequently undermine the work of the city council and public service. – Hanna C. Lacsamana