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Manila councilors quit committees over slaughterhouse row

By Katherine Evangelista
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 17:51:00 07/15/2008

Filed Under: Conflicts (general), Local authorities

MANILA, Philippines -- Twenty-four city councilors resigned from their posts as members and heads of the different committees, prompting a reorganization before the session ended Tuesday.

In their individual privilege speeches during the session, the councilors unanimously said that their resignations were a sign of protest against the violent treatment by members of the Manila Police Department (MPD) towards councilor Dennis Alcoreza.

Alcoreza was forcibly carried out of the building during the city government?s takeover of the Vitas Slaughterhouse in Tondo, a city-owned facility leased to Dealco Farms Inc. in 2001.

The slaughterhouse was taken over due to alleged violations by Dealco of the lease contract.

Dealco stands for Delfin Alcoreza, father of the District 1 Councilor Alcoreza.

Due to the resignation of majority of the committee heads, the council?s majority floor leader Councilor Manuel ?Letlet? Zarcal motioned that all committee seats be vacated, after which he resigned from his position. The motion was carried after other members of the council seconded it.

He added that their resignations were a sign of protest against the alleged unjust treatment towards one of their colleagues and not towards Mayor Alfredo Lim.

?Ito siguro nakita nilang tamang forum [Maybe they think this is the right forum],? vice-mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno? Domagoso said when asked why the councilors decided to resign from their committees during the session.

But the situation could still be considered a ?crisis? since the council had some items to discuss during that session, Domagoso said.

?Hindi rin ako agree sa ginawa ng mga pulis [I also do not agree with the actions of the police]? Domagoso said.

He added that if a councilor would file a resolution on the incident, then the police involved in the takeover would be investigated.

The council adjourned at 2 p.m. after electing new committee chairmen and officers and would resume work by Thursday, Domagoso said.

In a separate interview, lawyer Renato Dela Cruz, city legal officer, said that Mayor Lim was ?not affected? by the councilors? resignations.

?It is a matter that the council has a prerogative over. The council has its own way of resolving these problems,? Dela Cruz said.

However, Dela Cruz said that there was no ?maltreatment? by the police towards Alcoreza.

?The police acted within the bounds of [the] law,? Dela Cruz said.

In a press conference last Monday, Lim said that the Alcoreza was carried out of the building upon his request.

Lim added that the MPD and representatives of the city government waited for three hours for the Dealco to vacate the Vitas Slaughterhouse premises but that the group refused.



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