Sunday, August 26, 2007

Angeles STL controversy worsens

Councilors call mayor’s closure order ‘illegal’


ANGELES CITY -- The sanggunniang panglungsod (SP) has adopted a resolution describing as illegal Mayor Francis "Blueboy" Nepomuceno’s order stopping the Small Town Lottery (STL) operations here.

In the SP resolution sponsored by Councilor Willie Rivera, the councilors asked the Office of the City Mayor and the police not to disrupt the STL games.

Voting 8-2 with one abstention, the SP, in a recent session, approved the resolution "declaring the closure of the STL agent of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) in Angeles City as Illegal."

The resolution also orders the chief of the business permit and licensing division to open the establishment and directs public official and members of the police station to refrain from further committing acts which would disrupt the legitimate and peaceful operation of the STL.

The City Information Office (CI), as of yesterday afternoon, failed to return calls and text messages to reporters on the reaction of Nepomuceno to the resolution.

The councilors who approved the resolution are Efren de la Cruz, Jay Sangil, Maricel Morales, Ruben Maniago, Rudy Simeon, Dan Lacson, Pogs Suller, and Rivera, all members of the majority bloc.

But top Councilor Ric Zalamea, also a member of the majority, abstained.

Two members of the minority bloc, Councilors Ares Yabut and Pitong del Rosario, voted against the resolution.

Rosario, an ally of Nepomuceno, took up the cudgels for the mayor. He said the council should not further discuss the STL controversy, which had been tackled in the last four successive council sessions.

"If they want to file charges against the mayor so be it. Let the higher court (court of law) take care of the STL problem. This (SP session) is not the venue," Del Rosario said.

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