MANILA, Philippines -- Makati City councilors? bickering over what should be on the agenda for Tuesday?s session paralyzed the city council and resulted in the delay of the approval of an ordinance extending the deadline of the payment of taxes in the city.
One of the proposed resolutions supposed to have been taken up on Tuesday was a draft on revising the schedule of tax payments, the deadline for which elapsed on Jan. 25.
Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, however, refused to start the session as Councilor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. did not certify the agenda that included an ordinance on determining the composition of new majority and minority blocs? an apparent move to oust Binay as majority floor leader.
Binay, instead, signed a modified copy of the agenda omitting three pending resolutions.
As majority floor leader, Binay has the prerogative to endorse what resolutions or ordinance should be calendared for the session.
?What agenda are we going to talk about? Only the things you (Binay) wanted to? This is not right,? Mercado told the council. ?We have to respect each other. It?s not right that we are only doing what the son of the mayor wants.?
Binay retorted: ?Don?t tell me I am just the son of the mayor. I am an elected councilor here.?
According to Binay, the manner by which the councilors aligned with Mercado reorganized the committees was illegal because amending a resolution creating a committee should be the task of the whole council.
?How can they say that they formed the majority? They did not form the majority, only a status quo,? Binay said, adding the tie-breaking vote cast by Mercado last week was not valid because the presiding officer is not a member of the council.
Mercado said he would reconvene the session to approve the tax payments resolution only if Binay would follow the rules and include all pending resolutions in the agenda.
Binay on Tuesday filed a petition at the Makati Regional Trial Court for an injunction on the city council?s reorganization last week that stripped him of the chairmanship of two committees.
The 24-page petition seeks to nullify the tie-breaking vote of Mercado and the assumption of Councilors Salvador Pangilinan and Elias Tolentino Jr. as chairmen of the committees on rules and on education, respectively.
?Mercado and Binay, Jr. are adversaries for the position of mayor of Makati City in the upcoming 2010 local elections. The mere fact that Mercado chose two standing committees chaired by Binay as the object of his recommendation shows the capriciousness and whimsicalness of the entire plan to reorganize standing committees,? the petition said.
According to the petition, the delivery of basic services to Makati residents has been adversely affected by the reorganization, thus, "judicial intervention is a matter of urgency."
Relations between Jun-jun Binay, the 32-year-old son of Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, and Mercado, their longtime ally, have been strained when the two both declared their candidacies for mayor.