WITH UNDUE HASTE
NINE members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) convened in a special session Friday afternoon to pass a resolution authorizing Mayor Benjamin Lim to negotiate for the sale of the former MC Adore International Palace and a city’s property in Calasiao.
The special session, called by the mayor and originally set at 10:00 a.m., was attended by five councilors from the majority and four from the minority.
The councilors in the majority were Jesus Canto, Luis Samson Jr., Karlos Reyna, Librada Reyna and Alvin Coquia while those in the minority were Bryan Lim, Redford Erfe-Mejia, Guillermo Vallejos and John Chester Gonzales.
Councilor Maybelyn Fernandez was on-leave while Councilor Alfie Fernandez deliberately did not attend the special session in deference to Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez, chair of the SP, who is also on leave as she is in the United States to receive the “Dayew na Dagupan” award from the Dagupan Association of Northern California.
Councilor Jeslito Seen was reportedly also abroad.
With Canto presiding and Karlos Reyna acting as majority floor leader, the special session took only about five minutes.
No deliberation took place as Councilor Samson moved for the approval of the resolution and was immediately seconded by all those present.
VM QUESTIONS “EMERGENCY”
In an e-mail from the U.S., Vice Mayor Fernandez said she was puzzled why Lim was in hurry to have the resolution approved in her absence when the matter could have been discussed on the April 23 session of the SP during which she will already be back from her trip.
She said the call to a special session by the mayor was not in the nature of an emergency.
At the same time, she said there was no reason Dagupan City could ask for more money as the SP had just approved the city’s budget of P581 million and a supplemental budget of P10 million, of which P6.1 million came from personnel savings during the first quarter.
The resolution, read by Reyna, showed that the amounts to be raised for the sale of the two properties will be earmarked for priority development programs and projects of the city government.
“I DON’T KNOW”
Canto, when interviewed by mediamen outside the session hall after the resolution’s approval, merely said, “I just did my job as presiding officer. No agko ginawa so dyutek, antoy ibaga da ey?”.
When asked why the special session was convened at 5:00 p.m. when the letter of the mayor specified 10:00 a.m., Canto said, “I don’t know what happened”.
When asked why they conducted a special session when Monday is only three days away, he said, “I don’t know, ask them.”
There are reports that money changed hands for the approval of the resolution, allegedly funded by an interested buyer of the Mac Adore building who is offering P68 million as against the property’s assessed value of at least P128 million to as much P300 million.
Earlier, Arbros Realty Development Corporation first offered P60 million for the property, then another buyer, Managen Realty Development Corporation, developer of San Marino’s place in Dagupan, also made an offer.
Both were rejected by the SP.
It was not learned how much would be offered for the Dagupan property in Barangay Talibaew, Calasiao which was originally bought by the city ostensibly as a relocation center for informal settlers crowding Dagupan.