TACLOBAN CITY – Opposition members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, this city, expressed their irritation over the non-appearance of an executive of Mayor Alfred Romualdez. Maria Lagman, head of the City Housing Board, was requested to appear before the members of the city council to give them update on the housing rehabilitation plan. But instead of Lagman heeding on their request to appear before them during their regular session on June 4, what they received was a letter from the chief of staff of Mayor Romualdez, lawyer Czarina Aquitania. Aquitania, in her letter to the city council, was said to have said that they could raise their queries by writing a communication to Lagman instead of asking her to appear before them. This, obviously, did not sit well among opposition members of the city council.
Councilor Neil Glova, leading member of the opposition bloc at the council, said that Aquitania’s action was a “mockery.” Glova said that whenever the Executive Branch makes a request to them for a certain matter, they immediately accede and accommodate such request. But if they were the ones asking a request from the Executive Branch, they were being rebuffed or turned down just like their request for Lagman to appear before them. Councilor Raizza Villasin, another member of the opposition bloc, said that time is of the essence and writing letters to the officials of the City Hall and writing their query will only consume time. Councilor Dalisay Herpe said that Lagman should appear before the city council as problems have been noted in the temporary shelters and in tent city, particularly on fire incident in Barangay Costa Brava that killed a mother and her five children. Councilor Willie Domingo, considered to be an administration ally, said that the Executive Branch should learn to respect their rights as members of the Legislative Branch. Vice Mayor Jerry Yaokasin, presiding officer of the council, said that the presence of Lagman could provide them correct information about the city master plan on shelter which is the centerpiece of Tacloban City rehabilitation plan. He added that when the city mayor had requested for them to conduct a special session last week for the passage of the resolution to allow him to expropriate lands in northern barangays intended for temporary shelters and for allowing the municipality of Basey, Samar to dump their Yolanda debris at the dumpsite of the city, they granted the request of the city mayor even they were on recess. (ROEL T. AMAZONA)