FOR BLOCKING CITY COUNCIL SESSION

Taguig mayor charged

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Taguig Mayor Laarni Cayetano and City Administrator Jose Montales are facing charges for allegedly padlocking the session hall and preventing city council members from holding their regular sessions.

The two officials were charged at the Office of the Ombudsman with violation of Article 143 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC).

The Ombudsman denied the duo’s motion for reconsideration.

The mayor is the wife of Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.


Members of the city council described the padlocking of the session hall as “an act of hostility, premeditated and executed with undue haste, affording no prior consultation and no prior notice.”

Because the session hall was padlocked, city councilors moved to a small room at the city auditorium in August 2010, according to a statement by the anti-graft office on Thursday.

They held their maiden session on the staircase of the city hall because of the limited space, and the succeeding 14 sessions in various places in and outside city hall.

Cayetano and Montales said the move was part of the city’s reengineering and reorganizational plan.

But Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales junked their claim, noting that there was no plan or a semblance of a project study that would validate the need for an immediate change in the layout of the city hall offices.

“[T]he documentary evidence, as well as respondents’ own admissions, belied their claim that any ‘reorganizational or reengineering plan’ with respect to city hall offices actually existed,” the Office of the Ombudsman said in its resolution.

But Cayetano insisted that she did not prevent the city council from holding its sessions and that “at the time, a reorganization and reassignment of offices was needed.”

“They were given their own space and equipment. It was their intention not to use the same and make it appear that they were not allowed to hold sessions,” she added.

The mayor said in 2010, no office was allocated for her as well, thus she asked for a chance to fix the room assignments but this allegedly did not sit well with some councilors.

Cayetano insisted that she did not act beyond her authority because under the Local Government Code, a mayor has the right to lead such reorganizations.

“The transfer of offices, reorganization helped improve service,” she said.

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