Rama advisor passes council grilling
DESPITE intense grilling, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama’s legal advisor managed to have his consultancy contract renewed by the opposition-dominated City Council.
A presentation by lawyer James Ponce failed to impress Councilor Alvin Dizon, who questioned him on his supposed failure to perform as the mayor’s consultant on environment, waste management, labor and employment.
Dizon questioned Ponce on his comments stating that he was “saddened” about the pronouncements of some officials on the Rallos payment claims that were made without studying the case. Dizon said Ponce’s comments sounded very arrogant.
While Ponce said he made the comments without referring to any city official, Councilor Margot Osmeña was unsatisfied.
“Who were the people you had in mind? I’m sure you were referring to someone,” said the councilor. Osmeña also reminded Ponce to update the council on the Rallos case.
She called his attention twice on allowing her to finish speaking before he responded.
Dizon later asked Ponce when he passed the bar exams and what his grade was. Ponce, who passed the bar in 1995, said Dizon’s question was “out of line.”
“One’s score in the bar exams should not be used as a gauge of one’s capabilities,” he replied.
Ponce said Rama’s lawyers will produce a power point presentation detailing City Hall’s case on the Rallos payment claims sometime soon.
Councilor Jose Daluz III, Rama’s ally in the council, defended Ponce’s role in the Rallos case, saying Ponce’s renewal contract mentions that he is supposed to “act on matters reasonably directed by the mayor.”
Councilor Augustus Pe Jr. asked Ponce about the basis of the city government’s petition to nullify the court’s judgement on the Rallos case before the Court of Appeals.
Ponce said their petition had strong basis and they will ask the CA to refund the P56 million paid to the Rallos heirs. Chief of Reporters Doris C. Bongcac