CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/11 July) — The political intramurals inside Misamis Oriental’s Sangguniang Panlalawigan marked another first when majority of its members snubbed Governor Oscar Moreno’s State of the Province Address here Monday.
In an interview, Vice Governor Norris Babiera, a known Moreno ally, lamented the decision of most of his colleagues in the Sanggunian to boycott the event.
“It is their right to boycott the Sopa. I respect them in their decision not to come but even in Congress opposition representatives attend as a matter of duty and statesmanship,” Babiera said.
Aside from Babiera, only Jabi Abing Bernaldez, Jimmy Caiña, Kendrick Galarrita and Oliver Actub attended Moreno’s SOPA at the De Lara Park, Capitol Compound.
Provincial board members Jeremy Jonahmar Pelaez, Benedict Lagbas, Geodeguil Ursal, Mary Grace Acain, Heckert Emano, Jesus Jardin, Arrish Canonigo, Arsenio Kho Jr. and Emmanuel Mugot did not show up. Most SP members belong to the PaDayon Pilipino, a local political party led by Cagayan de Oro Mayor Vicente Emano.
The internal squabbling started when majority of the provincial board disapproved Moreno’s request for funds for the construction of a provincial hospital in Alubijid town. Subsequently, the governor vetoed the now controversial Php1.38-billion 2011 budget passed by the board.
“I respect the presence of [SP member] Galarrita here today because he showed he understood his role as legislator of the province,” Babiera said.
But Bernaldez, a PaDayon party member, said it was the constitutional right of his colleagues not to attend the event.
Babiera, for his part, said: “Even if they do not respect the person, they should at least respect the Office of the Governor.”
“They have disrespected the Office of the Governor by not attending this important event. We should set aside politicking,” he said.
However, Babiera saw the boycott as an avenue for him to settle the internal squabbling for good.
“As head of the provincial board), their boycott encourages me to do more to resolve our internal differences,” he said. (Cong Corrales/MindaNews)