COUNCILOR Maybelyn Fernandez, Dagupan’s top councilor, has backed the position that the controversial special session called by Mayor Benjamin Lim and attended by nine councilors last April 20 has legal infirmities.
She said she herself did not receive any notification of the special session 24 hours before the schedule as required under local government regulation.
At that time, Fernandez was actually acting vice mayor and concurrently chair of the Sangguniang Panglungsod (SP) since Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez was then on an official trip to the United States.
Further, she vehemently denied that she was on sick leave at that time when the special session was called.
Fernandez has moved for the correction of the minutes during the June 25 regular session.
In the controversial June 20 special session, a resolution was passed giving the mayor authority to initiate the sale of the Mc Adore International Palace and a 10-hectare property owned by the city in Barangay Talibaew, Calasiao.
Fernandez said since she did not receive a proper notice for the session that she should have presided added to the legal infirmities of the session.
In addition, she concurred with the legal opinion of the Department of Interior and Loca, government that the resolution passed during that session were not subjected to the required second and third readings before final approval.
Councilor Fernandez’ supposed sick leave status was merely assumed by Acting SP Secretary Rizalino Uson based on what SP supervising administrative officer Rhea Manuel told him.
Manuel claimed she was told by Fernandez’ Secretary Divina Sinay that, “Naka sick leave ata”, with Uson emphasizing the word “ata” (I guess).
Sinay, however, denied telling Manuel or Uson the same.
Fernandez explained that at that time, she was attending a masteral program at the Makati City University, an official business sanctioned by the city government, where her fellow Councilors Karlos Reyna, Redford Erfe-Mejia, Librada Reyna, Alvin Coquia, Jeslito Seen and Alfie Fernandez were also enrolled.
Unlike Fernandez, Karlos and Librada Reyna, Mejia and Coquia were all notified and rushed to Dagupan that day to attend the special session, which was also attended by Councilors Jesus Canto, Luis Samson Jr., Brian Lim, Guillermo Vallejos and Chester Gonzales.
The special session called by Mayor Lim was originally set at 10:00 a.m. but was moved at past 5:00 p.m., possibly to accommodate the councilors coming from Manila.
The question of the resolution’s legality has been raised with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) through Secretary Jessie Robredo.
The DILG, in reply to a letter of Vice Mayor Fernandez dated 26 May 2012, has opined that the resolution approved in the April 20 special session does not give the mayor blanket authority to sell both the MC Adore and the Talibaew property.
However, with the minutes of the April 20 resolution already approved in a later session of the SP, Lim already formed an appraisal committee set to appraise the value of both MC Adore and the Calasiao property.
It is not known whether the members of the majority will continue to protest the resolution.