“IF YOU want a safer city for our constituents, try doing your job by attending City Council sessions.”
Councilor Roger Abaday dished out the advice to Cagayan de Oro Vice Mayor Vicente Emano, who was seen and heard in a television report pleading to an official of a Muslim rebel group to spare the city from bombings.
Vice Mayor Emano made the call, televised over ABS-CBN Northern Mindanao TV Patrol late last week, after last Tuesday’s bombings in Iligan and Jolo, Sulu.
Apparently speaking with Eid Kabalu, spokesman of the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the vice mayor was somewhat seeking reassurance that Cagayan de Oro be spared from what Iligan and Jolo had suffered.
Councilor Abaday described the televised call a “stunt” and a “drama” that “only Emano can pull off.”
“Grabe nga drama. For negotiating with rebel elements on a televised stunt, our vice mayor deserves a Famas Award,” said the councilor, part of the three-member minority group at the City Council.
If Emano really wanted the city to be safer, Abaday said this can be done by buying more equipment for the police and activating the City Peace and Order Council.
“Because he is the vice mayor, a good start would be to attend Council sessions aron makahatag siya og output aron safe kita dinhi sa siyudad. Dili nga magpagarpar siya diha sa kahanginan ug telebisyon,” Abaday said.
Emano has not appeared in Council sessions for two years now; he has only presided once—during the Council’s inaugural meeting in 2007.
Police had issued a full alert early last week after two hand grenades were found at a local mall. Authorities, however, later said the grenades were defective, and may only be meant to sow fear among the population.
In a press statement last Wednesday, Emano said he was able to contact several groups that be involved in the Iligan and Jolo blasts but none had admitted to the bombings.
When he was Misamis Oriental governor, Emano was involved in peace negotiations with both Muslim and communist rebels. He is presumed as having retained contacts with these groups.
However, Abaday said it was unbecoming for Emano to call rebel groups and plead for the city’s safety when other places are being bombed.
“What is right is to deplore all these terroristic acts, not cajole or gratify those who are presumed to commit these acts,” he said.
He added: “His purported concern for the safety of the people is belied by his indolence in performing his job. His heydays as peacemaker kuno are over, so it might be good for him to comeback to reality and preside the City Council session so that we can enact ordinance for the safety and security of our people.”
Emano attributes his nonattendance in Council sessions to concerns that are “of equal importance demanded by my office.” He states this reason in his weekly letter to his colleagues, in which he also assigns the presiding chairman for the week. (DVAIII) Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 13, 2009.