FASTLANES: Norris does a Don Filipo in the 2011 MisOr budget by By BenCyrus G. Ellorin

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/13 Jan) – “This morning I met old Tasio and the old man said to me: ‘Your rivals hate you more than they do your ideas. Do you wish that a thing shall not be done? Then propose it yourself, and though it were more useful than a miter, it would be rejected. Once they have defeated you, have the least forward person in the whole gathering propose what you want, and your rivals, in order to humiliate you, will accept it.” – Don Filipo

The debate which 2011 budget ordinance of Misamis Oriental is the “real” one has become comical and it exposes how our elected officials rant to please their political principals and if threatened go berserk as if heaven is closing down.

I have been observing the 2011 Misamis Oriental budget imbroglio and can’t help but get reminded of chapter 20 of our National Hero’s classic Noli Me Tangere.

The leader of the liberals Don Filipo has been tired debating with the “oldies” or conservatives in the town council. In order to defeat the extravagant plan for the town fiesta, Don Filipo, a hated liberal by the Conservatives, presented the proposal of the conservatives and it was disapproved without thinking.

Comes the 2011 budget of Misamis Oriental, since it was proposed by Governor Oscar S. Moreno, it became the favorite punching bag of the new opposition in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan that are allied with the PaDayon Pilipino of Cagayan de Oro Mayor Vicente “Dongkoy” Emano.

I am sure now, that an astute politician and acknowledged as one of the local kingmakers, Dongkoy may not be very happy with what his followers are doing in the SP now.

And Moreno is blunt about it, the problems besetting the P1.385-billion budget of Misamis Oriental is nothing but aimed at defanging him and making him ineffective in his last term as governor.

The budget of his office has been cut by more than P50 million, while the budget for the SP has been increased by about P25 million, including about P100,000 additional monthly allowances and perks for the honorable members of the SP.

The budget ordinance was passed on third and final reading. Vice Governor Norris Babiera, who is now part of the minority of the 14-man SP after PaDayon claims to have gotten the support of 10 members of the august body, feigned surrender.

Acknowledging that they have the numbers, Babiera said that he would transmit the budget ordinance 1217-2011 to Moreno on Jan. 3, 2011, at first without signing it, but later on signed it with reservations, for the Governor to veto or approve.

Then the famous verbal tussle in the first session of the SP for 2011 that broke the gavel of Babiera, which according to my sources is make of magkono or iron wood, and the now famous protest of Hon. Jesus Jardin, movant of the 2011 budget ordinance after Babiera purportedly challenged him to a fist fight outside the session hall.

The meat of the controversy is that Jardin and the majority of the members of the SP had suspected that Babiera had tinkered with the approved budget ordinance before passing it to Moreno. Babiera has brought with him the SP staff, principal among them the SP Board Secretary Felimon Aguilar, who refused to attest to the correctness of the budget being claimed as genuine by Jardin and his group and maintaining that the one submitted to the Governor’s office is the genuine one.

Now before we get confused with all the high pitch and stinging arguments that you often hear in morning news commentaries in the local radio, methinks that the debate is already useless.

The PaDayon majority in the SP already got what it wanted. To slash the budget of Moreno’s office and get the perks they want or they thought the Governor deprived of them.

Although there are discrepancies in the Babiera, Aguilar version of the budget ordinance and the Jardin, PaDayon version, the new majority in the SP have gotten what they want.

What peeved them was Babiera’s insistence that the PaDayon-sponsored budget is defective, but then again, as they have the numbers, he has to abide.

But because of their huge mistrust to the Vice Governor, they wanted to question the budget they authored and passed when it was about to be transmitted to the Governor’s office. A thing that may have left Moreno smiling and Babiera not regretting breaking the magkono gavel that was given to him as a gift.

It may have also left Dongkoy smirking and cursing his amateurish allies in the Capitol.

It is still 2011 and at the rate things are going in the Misamis Oriental capitol, you can just imagine the political fireworks when it spread in Cagayan de Oro city in 2013 when Moreno and Dongkoy are set to be pitted against each other.

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