Moreno's veto of Misamis Oriental’s 2011 budget may succeed

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/05 January) — Despite only having only four allies in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Misamis Oriental Gov. Oscar S. Moreno may succeed in vetoing the controversial P1.38-billion 2011 budget of the province.

Vice Gov. Norris Babiera, a Moreno ally said that the governor will most likely veto only portions of Ordinance 1217-2011 passed on third and final reading last Dec. 28, 2010.

The 9-3 vote on the budget ordinance may provide some comfort to Moreno and Babiera.

PaDayon Pilipino, a local party led by Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Vicente Emano, claims to have 10 out of the 14 SP members. They said that with at least nine votes, they can satisfy the 2/3 majority needed to override a veto.

The 9-3 vote was on account of the absence of SP member Jabi I. Bernaldez.

MindaNews asked Bernaldez if he was still with the PaDayon majority in the SP. He said, “Yes, but not in the approval of this budget.”

Babiera, however, said that the number needed for overriding a veto is 10 not nine.

“Na unsa man sila, wa na lugar ko nila gi apil nga (What’s happening to them, why are they not including me when) even in the determination of a quorum the attendance of the vice governor is counted,” he told MindaNews.

Babiera and SP member Jesus Jardin were debating which version of the budget ordinance is genuine.

Jardin, the chairperson of the committee on finance insisted he has the copy of the genuine ordinance which is different from the one forwarded by Babiera to Moreno’s office on Monday.

A staff member in the office of Moreno said that the governor was still studying the budget and would make known his decision before the lapse of the 15-day period within which he may approve or veto it.

The opposition introduced a budget ordinance that cut by more than half the budget of the governor while increasing the budget of the SP. Among the changes is the increase in the travel expenses of SP members from P1.5 million to P5-million or a “P20,000 allocation per Provincial Board Member per month.”

Under the budget SP members will also enjoy monthly allocations of P10,000 for gasoline and lubricants, P50,000.00 for donations, and P30,000.00 for consultancies, among others.

Members of the local opposition who are now the majority in the SP said that they will override a veto by Moreno. They are allied with Emano’s PaDayon Pilipino.

A source close to Moreno told MindaNews that they were still convincing another member of the majority to support them in order to ensure a veto of the budget. He declined to be named as he is not authorized to comment on the matter.

On paper, the majority in the SP (opposition to Moreno) are Mercy Grace J. Acain, Heckert Emano, Benedict Lagbas, Jeremy Pelaez, Geudeguil Ursal, Arrish Canonigo, Arsenio Kho Jr., Kendrick Galarrita, Jardin and Bernaldez.

Members of the minority who are loyal to Moreno are Babiera, Oliver Actub, Jimmy Caina and Emmanuel Mugot.

Moreno is reportedly raring to challenge Emano for the mayoralty of Cagayan de Oro in 2013.

Emano was governor of Misamis Oriental from 1986, after the Edsa Revolt, until 1998 before becoming mayor of Cagayan de Oro from 1998 to 2007. He was elected city vice mayor in May 2007 and won again as city mayor on May 10, 2010.

Moreno is now on his third term as governor. He was three-term congressman of the 2nd district of Misamis Oriental from 1995 to 2004. He was one of the prosecutors in the impeachment trial of ousted president Joseph Estrada. (BenCyrus G. Ellorin/MindaNews)