CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/19 January) — Gov. Oscar S. Moreno today vetoed parts of the budget ordinance passed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan majority of whose members are allied with the local political group PaDayon led by Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Vicente Y. Emano.
Saying the provincial legislature had committed acts beyond its power in passing the controversial P1.38-billion 2011 budget, Moreno faced reporters 10 am this morning in his office to stop speculations on what he would do with the controversial budget.
The vice governor’s 19-page order vetoed 19 items in the budget document passed as SP Ordinance 1217-2010.
Moreno also declared that of the two versions of the budget ordinance forwarded to him, he is acknowledging as valid the version signed by Vice Governor Norris Babiera and certified true and correct by SP Secretary Felimon Aguilar.
Immediately after learning that Moreno had issued line vetoes on the budget, the 10-man SP majority issued a memorandum for the office of Moreno threatening to file criminal and administrative actions against the governor for acknowledging the “Babiera-Aguilar” version of the budget.
The debate on which version of the budget ordinance is valid has been raging since January 3, the day it was submitted to Moreno after SP committee on finance chairperson Jesus Jardin accused Babiera of tinkering with the ordinance that they passed on 3rd and final reading on Dec. 28, 2010.
Jardin wanted the SP to submit a version of the said ordinance bearing the signatures of nine members but which was not certified as true copy by the secretary.
Aguilar has issued a sworn statement that he did not sign the “Jardin-PaDayon” version given to him early morning of Jan. 3, saying it did not conform to the minutes of the Dec. 28, 2010 session of the SP.
Moreno said in his order today that the version of Jardin “is a mere scrap of paper” and a “falsified document.”
He said he is ready to face in court and in the proper forum the threat of the PaDayon majority to file criminal and administrative charges against him for acknowledging as genuine the Babiera-Aguilar version of the budget.
Earlier, Babiera downplayed the protests of the majority, saying that both versions of the budget ordinance can be called “PaDayon” budgets as they were successful in cutting the budget of the Provincial Governor’s Office.
He also said he does not want to partake of the “fruit of a poisonous tree,” alluding to the P120,000 in additional perks to every member of the SP.
Moreno said his veto was mainly based on what he called “ultra vires” or acts beyond the powers of the SP that would be “prejudicial to the public welfare.”
“The reduction by 46% on wages; reduction by 56% on advertising and publication, reduction by 87% on confidential expense; reduction by 87% on intelligence expenses reduction by 90% on donation; deduction by 86% on consultancy services; and reduction by 80% on sports development fund are unreasonable, arbitrary, obstructive and destructive,” Moreno’s 19-page order said.
He said that the non-vetoed items on the budget will take effect while those that he vetoed will be based on the 2010 budget.
“Those that are vetoed will still have a budget based on the reenacted budget of 2010, while the non-vetoed items will take effect,” Moreno explained. (BenCyrus G. Ellorin/MindaNews)