8 Lapu-Lapu City councilors tested negative for Covid-19

THE eight Lapu-Lapu City councilors present in the offsite regular session on Aug. 26, 2021, that was attended by a journalist who later tested positive for Covid-19 were already tested for the virus, and the results came in negative.

These city councilors, identified with the opposition, are Flaviano Hiyas, Rico Amores, Junrey Gestopa, Rudy Potot, Michael Dignos, Rex Mangubat, Gregorio Paquibot and Eduardo Cuizon, an ex-officio member being the president of the Association of Barangay Councils.

Hiyas said they took their RT-PCR test in a private clinic in Lapu-Lapu City on Tuesday, Aug. 31. The results of the swab tests of the secretariat were not yet released.

These city councilors, who are allies of Lapu-Lapu City Rep. Paz Radaza, are expected to be present in a face-to-face regular session on Thursday, Sept. 2.

Hiyas said conducting an in-person regular session is their mandate as members of the City Council.

During the Aug. 26 session held in a function room of a restaurant in Barangay Ibo, Hiyas said there was an air purifier and the councilors wore masks and observed physical distancing.

Hiyas said holding a session was permitted by Vice Mayor Celedonio Sitoy, the presiding officer who was unable to attend the session.

He said they did not defy Sitoy’s order, saying the vice mayor had not issued an order prohibiting them from holding an in-person session.

Sitoy, an ally of Mayor Junard Chan, issued a new order last Aug. 31, instructing members of the City Council that they will hold a virtual session via Zoom video conferencing app on Sept. 2 because the swab test results would come out within two to three days.

This order could be thrown in the wind as the results of the eight councilors’ swab tests were already out.

Hiyas said there is no reason for them to hold a physical session as it is stated in the current City Council’s internal rules.

If the City Council would change the rules, it must be decided by the majority, not by Sitoy alone, said Hiyas.

Hiyas said if Sitoy or the secretariat is not present on Sept. 2, the City Council could still push through with the session if there are 8 councilors present, constituting a quorum.

In a separate interview with Superbalita Cebu, Sitoy said he plans to attend the session via Zoom because it was the order he had issued.

He hoped the rest of the City Council would follow his order. (GCM / KAL)