El Salvador City Council evicted from session hall

EL SALVADOR CITY (MindaNews/13 July) – The mayor of this small coastal city in Misamis Oriental closed the session hall this morning forcing the City Council to hold its session elsewhere and sit on plastic chairs with no tables.

Mayor Alfredo Tan (Lakas-Kampi) also ordered all furniture and fixtures in the session hall removed from the building.

The ten councilors led by Vice Mayor Emelita Almirante (Liberal Party) were forced to hold their session in an old building beside the session hall but had to make do with plastic chairs as their only furniture.

“This is pure political harassment,” Almirante said.

“Dako gyud ni nga paglisod-lisod ni mayor sa konseho ug dako ni nga problema nga atubangon sa legislative body (The mayor is really causing a great inconvenience to the City Council. This is a big problem for the legislative body),” Councilor Rafael Pedro Baculio said.

Tan signed a memorandum last week converting the session hall into a conference room.

Baculio said the memorandum was illegal because the DILG did not concur.

Almirante had eight allies in the 12-seat City Council while Tan only had two councilors identified with him.

The vice mayor wanted the Department of Interior and Local Government to intervene.

She said the legislative function of the City Council has been affected by Tan’s decision to bar them from using the session hall.

“Even our staff has no chairs and tables. How can we function?” Almirante asked.

El Salvador is a fourth class city whose cityhood status was upheld by the Supreme Court  on Dec. 22, 2009 along with 15 other new cities across the country. (Bencyrus Ellorin/MindaNews)