The majority bloc of Manila’s city council on Monday said it scored a victory against Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna and her allied councilors who have tried but failed to delay the approval of the P14.8-billion city budget for 2017.
Councilor Casimiro Sison of the sixth district, the Majority Floor Leader, pointed out the Manila Regional Trial Court ruled that the approval of Ordinance 7810 appropriating the Executive Budget of Manila for 2017 is valid and legal.
“We call it a victory. It was just a good passage [of the ordinance], and maybe, I could say is that our process is correct, and what we did in the council,” Sison said.
In an earlier decision, RTC Branch 173 Judge Armando Yanga junked Lacuna’s petition-complaint asking the court to nullify the city budget ordinance, on grounds the council passed it illegally.
Sison said the court’s decision was clear: The council complied with the law and the required legislative processes in voting for the approval of the budget ordinance.
“The court said there was no cause for action, the ordinance was approved in the third and final reading, and that it was the vice mayor herself who presided over the session,” the councilor stressed.
Sison stressed they had to “act with urgency” in passing the city budget because any delay in its approval and implementation “will affect the operation of the city government, particularly the delivery of services to the people.”
“If there is a delay, I pity the people,” Sison said. “This [budget ordinance] is the most important and the centerpiece legislation. If the approval and implementation of the city budget is delayed even by just a single day, there’s already a damage on the part of the constituents.”
Sison said he hoped Lacuna and her allied minority councilors “will have time to reflect on their moves.”
“They should look deeper into what they are doing. And I hope if they’re going to do that, look whether if it’s a hindrance, delaying... you know that there is a delay,” he said.
Even if Lacuna’s camp would appeal the decision, Sison stressed it would be just “an exercise in futility.”
In a nine-page resolution, Judge Yanga dismissed with finality Lacuna’s petition for a temporary restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction against Ordinance 7810.
Yanga declared as valid and legal the City Council sessions held on Dec. 15, 2016 and Jan. 3, 2017 approving the budget ordinance that Lacuna, who presides over the council, had questioned.
“As far as this Court is concerned, the session, or passage of the ordinance done on Dec. 15, 2016 and Jan. 3, 2017 by the herein defendants are valid and legal,” Yanga said.
“Corollary, considering that the Court has already resolved the prevailing issues, there is no more necessity to prolong the proceedings of this case,” Yanga said.
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