BY ROGER M. BALANZA
The Davao City regular session on May 20 was adjourned for lack of quorom prompting an exasperated presiding officer Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte to dish out a harsh comment against the absentee city councilors.
Mga gahig ulo!, Duterte told media, who sought his reaction to the adjournment of the session where the councilors were supposed to deliberate on 41 items in the legislative agenda for the day.
Thirteen councilors who turned up marched out of the session hall before they can warm their seats minutes past the 10AM official start of the session where a roll call showed a lack of quorum. The 26-member council needs 14 councilors present to have a quorum.
But even as he was visibly disappointed, Duterte managed to dish out a verbal brew of a jest tinged with irony.
“This is history. This is the first time during my term as the vice mayor,” said Duterte who is a year in office as vice mayor.
He said some councilors sent notice they would be skipping the session to volunteer in the Brigada Eskwela, a project aiming to keep public schools in physical shape for the June opening of classes.
Brigada Eskwela is not a valid reason to be absent from the session, he said.
Our responsibility is to attend sessions on Tuesdays, he said.
Attending sessions is a priority over painting sessions in the public schools, he said.
In the flesh in the session were Abellera Jr., Joanne Bonguyan, Louie John Bonguyan, April Marie Dayap, Jimmy Dureza, January Duterte, Ibuyan Sr., Diosdado Mahipus, Berino Mambo-o, Tomas Monteverde IV, Antoinette Principe, Joselle Villafuerte and Duterte.
The no-shows were Councilors Ma. Belen Acosta, Victorio Advincula Jr., Bernard Al-ag, Al Ryan Alejandre, Leonardo Avila III, Karlo Bello, Danilo Dayanghirang, Leah Librado-Yap, Rene Elias Lopez, Bonifacio Militar, Myrna L. Dalodo-Ortiz, Marissa Salvador-Abella and Rachel Zozobrado.
Duterte has set some good manners and right conduct for city councilors during sessions, when he noticed that many of the councilors getting out of the plenary hall to be at their offices while the session is ongoing. He also ordered that sessions should start at 10AM sharp.
“I have called their attention many times in terms of punctuality and behavior at the session hall but they are too hard-headed. I can always ask the sergeant at arms to arrest them but they are old enough to be told,” he said.
Duterte says the City Council house rules do not penalize a councilor fwho fails to attend the session.
And he is leaving it up to the people to punish the misbehaving councilors when the next elections comes.
The people of Davao will judge them based on their performance, he said.