Mike hits Margot for ‘preempting’ budget
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said it was unethical for Councilor Margot Osmeña to say only P5.8 billion, not the proposed P10.5 billion budget will be approved in budget hearing last Monday.
Osmeña, chairperson of the City Council Budget Committee was quoted as saying that the 2014 budget based on “realizable” income could only be P5.8-billion.
Osmeña’s announcement, he said, already preempted the outcome of ongoing budget deliberations and may have already conditioned the minds of other councilors to approve only said amount.
“She should not have said that because it (the 2014 budget amount) is not final until it (the budget deliberations) is over,” Rama said.
Rama was in Macau to watch the fight of boxing champion Manny Pacquiao when the council met special bodies and offices under the Office of the Mayor to hear their budget proposal.
Osmeña told city administrator Jose Marie Poblete in Monday’s budget hearing that the Council was only inclined to consider the P5.8 billion in “realizable” income as revenue source for next year’s budget. The P5.8 billion will come from taxes and other local sources and the city’s IRA share.
She said that the P5.4 billion from SRP lots sales which was included as a revenue source of Rama’s P10.5 billion budget cannot be considered as a budget source unless the sales are completed.
“If that pronouncement is coming from one person, she should be circumspect,” said Rama, adding that “until any final deliberation is made you do not apply any number.”
He said that it was not correct to give in advance a budget figure and preempt the outcome of budget deliberations.
“Why preempt? Are you now controlling the majority of the councilors?”
Rama said that while it is obvious that the council members are not his rubber stamps, it is also becoming evident that they are rubber stamps of another person. But he did clarify his statement.
Councilor Osmeña is the wife of former south district congressman Tomas Osmeña who was lost to Rama in the May 2013 election.
While he would not say if Osmeña violated any law, Rama said what the lady councilor did was “destroy the mantle of freedom of speech and debate.”
The Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan controls the majority of the City Council.
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