Cabanatuan SP session ‘snubbed’

May 08, 2019

CABANATUAN CITY -- The return of Vice Mayor Emmanuel Antonio “Doc Anthony” Umali to the Sangguniang Panglungsod as its presiding officer was greeted with mass absences by pro-Mayor Jay Vergara city councilors during the holding of two consecutive regular sessions last April 29 and May 6 here.

Umali, who is gunning for the vice gubernatorial post on next Monday’s elections said he, city councilor Gave Calling, who is vying for the city vice mayoral post and colleague Nero Mercado were the only ones who attended the 18th regular session held last Monday.

Umali said the 10 members of the majority bloc allied with Vergara led by first councilor Eduardo Jose B. Joson VII allegedly boycotted the two regular sessions held on April 29 and May 6.

This sudden “no-show” during SP sessions by the pro-Vergara bloc transpired when Umali and company were re-installed to their previous posts by the Department of the Interior and Local Government last April 24.

The trio returned to the SP after nine months and 19 days of absence. This was after they were cleared by the Ombudsman of criminal and administrative charges that exonerated them from the penalty of dismissal from the service.

It would be recalled that the re-installation of Umali, Calling and Mercado was in connection with the reversal order issued by the anti-graft body regarding the case of the alleged anomalous repacking and distribution of relief goods of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in 2016 filed by Josephine Libunao, an aide of Mayor Vergara.

“Natuloy ang session pero walang naaprubahan at walang pwedeng italakay dahil walang quorum,” Umali told this reporter yesterday, adding that the next regular session will be held on May 20 at 2 p.m.

He said this pro-Vergara bloc allegedly “snubbed” attending the sessions because they were busy campaigning.

This was in stark contrast to SP sessions that were previously held immediately prior to Umali’s return at the SP, when these Vergara-allied councilors were seen attending SP sessions, it was learned.