For his Executive Order No. 1 Series of 2016, Sto. Tomas Mayor John Sambo had a rather unwelcome directive – he directed the vice mayor and the Sangguniang Bayan to leave the town hall. For good.
Only seven days in office, the apparent rift between Sambo and Vice Mayor Gloria Ronquillo and the councilors had cropped up.
Sambo’s EO No. 1 directed the Sangguniang Bayan to vacate the session hall and move to an annex building around 3 kilometers from the Sto. Tomas town hall.
Ronquillo has described Sambo’s order for them to vacate the town hall as a grave abuse of power and disrespect to the members of the town council.
The town council was not allowed to have an inaugural session last July 4. A regular session was held on July 5 but the office equipment had been allegedly removed by Sambo’s followers.
“There was no consultation (before) the mayor issued an executive order transferring our session hall to the municipal hall annex building, which is situated 3kilometers away from its original place,” Ronquillo said.
“We are only on our seventh day after the oath-taking but mayor Sambo declined to consider us,” she said at a press conference. “I pleaded to the mayor to give us more time and make (the move in) the proper way but the mayor ignored us.”
Ronquillo said Sambo’s order “was deliberate and intentional.”
“We were ordered by the mayor to transfer for the inaugural session but the place is not yet ready, so how can we start making ordinances when the area is not conducive for legislative discussion?” she said.
Vice mayor to file raps
Ronquillo is set to file administrative charges against Sambo for having ordered them to vacate the SB session hall.
“I was disappointed by Mayor Sambo’s executive order because even if we insist talking to him for a consultative meeting for the transfer of our office, he still disrespects us as elected officials of our town,” Ronquillo said.
According to Ronquillo, the transfer of the session hall where legislative functions and duties shall be conducted at the 3rd floor of the new municipal annex in Barangay San Matias, is not conducive for legislative functions and health reasons as well.
Ronquillo narrated that she even pleaded to Sambo to give them ample time to prepare for their new office but fell on deaf ears.
She said out of nine Sangguniang Bayan Members, six of them were not in favor of the transfer of the session hall.
“We were stunned by Mayor Sambo’s communication right after our oath taking. While having our lunch, he ordered his men to enter by the window of our session and they forcibly took out the chairs and tables being used by councilors.
No matter what, we will stay at our office and being the presiding officer, I will fight for our right as we are mandated by the people of Sto. Tomas,” the vice mayor stressed.
Meanwhile, Sambo’s media relations office Jeffrey Gomez said the mayor is still busy and that he will respond in a separate press conference soon.
Sambo’s executive order calls for the “assigning, allocating and transferring the respective offices of the Sangguniang Bayan of Sto. Tomas to Municipal Hall annex building and for other purposes” to allow more space for four departments attached to the mayor’s office: was issued to pave the way for the relocation of four departments attached with the mayor’s office — the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office, Senior Citizens Office, Persons with Disability, and Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program — that also occupy the session hall. –With the reports of Jess Malabanan