Two city dads almost came to blows during public hearing

TWO councilors almost figured in a scuffle after a shouting match last Tuesday, June 27, during the first of a series of clustered barangay consultations on the draft resolution in the city council seeking the transfer of the city hall from A.B. Fernandez Avenue to a donated land in along the Jose de Venecia Highway in Barangay Pantal.

The incident where Councilors Jose Netu Tamayo and Redford Erfe-Mejia almost came into blows had cooler heads hot intervened and witnessed by residents of Barangay Bolosan in attendance, happened during the scheduled hearing in the barangay.

An agitated Erfe-Mejia reportedly approached Tamayo (who was presiding the public hearing in his capacity as chairman of the committee on laws, ordinances and judiciary and on land utilization) and accused the latter for being biased by taking time to explain and defend the merits of the proposed ordinance in response to Erfe-Mejia’s presentation instead of soliciting views from the residents.

Surprised by Erfe-Mejia’s outburst, Tamayo strongly denied the charge and cited the time and opportunity given the former to say his piece without any interruption, and that he, as principal author of the proposed ordinance, had the responsibility to fully explain the ordinance, and, therefore, also deserved not to be interrupted.

“Ako ang nagpanukala ng paglipat ng city hall kaya’t siyempre ipinapaliwanag ko ang aking posisyon sa isyung aking ipinanukala” Tamayo said.

When Tamayo was asked on Thursday, June 29, how it has been since their shouting match, Tamayo said Erfe-Mejia already apologized to him and he, being a Christian, accepted the apology.

Erfe-Mejia admitted he accused Tamayo of being biased because he felt he was not giving others in attendance a chance to voice out their opinions.

The heated exchange between the two reportedly caused tension among the followers of the two councilors and the residents in attendance from Barangay Bolosan, Tambac, Manguin, Tebeng, Salisay and Mamalingling.

The public hearing was continued on the same day in Barangay Bonuan Boquig and this time Erfe-Mejia vented his anger on Sanggunian Secretary Ryan Ravanzo whom he accused of misinterpreting his ‘no’ vote to a resolution urging Mayor Belen Fernandez to make representation with the CSI Group of Companies to provide road right of way for the 1.2-hectare land donated to the city by Kerwin Fernandez, the mayor’s brother.

Ravanzo denied misinterpreting Erfe-Mejia’s vote because Councilor Luis Samson Jr.  who presided the council meeting attested that Erfe Mejia withdrew his objection.

In both public hearings last week, Erfe-Mejia presented a video presentation entitled” Corruption 101” by Vice Mayor Brian Lim alleging that accepting the the donation of the brother of Mayor Belen Fernandez smacks of graft and corruption.

However, among the other four members of the opposition in the city council, only Erfe-Mejia opposed the ordinance authorizing Mayor Fernandez to accept and sign the deed of donation. Councilors Samson, Guillermo Vallejos, and Nick Aquino voted in favor of the ordinance.  (Leonardo Micua)