Bacolod City officials had not yet received as of yesterday a copy of the letter from the Office of the President dated June 14, 2012 allegedly denying the request of the Sangguniang Panlungsod for presidential proclamation of June 18 as a special non-working holiday in Bacolod City.
Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia yesterday said that while the supposed denial letter was signed by Michael Aguilado, deputy executive secretary for legal affairs of Malacañang on June 14, he was informed that the President greeted the people of Bacolod City on its Charter Day, in a message published as an advertisement in a regional newspaper Monday.
The message that came out in the Panay News on June 18, 2012 was signed by President Benigno Aquino III himself.
Leonardia said he is now wondering how the Palace opinion denying the request of the SP came out, since Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson had been told by Malacañang that they could not be furnished an advanced copy of the letter because it has to be mailed to them.
He said, however, that the faxed letter of Aguinaldo to the media dated June 14, indicated that the source was the Golez Realty Management Corp. and was sent at 6:02 a.m. the same day. The opinion of Aguinaldo, was, in effect, an advance copy, he added.
Asked if he considers the greeting of Aquino a recognition of the celebration, Leonardia said that is how he interprets it.
He said they are just presenting facts and documents. Let those documents speak for themselves, he added.
Councilor Em Legaspi-Ang said they learned about the letter of the Legal Department a night before it was released to the media.
She said it is important to note that the letter was dated June 14 whereas, the message of the President that came out in the newspaper is dated June 18. So the President’s letter came AFTER the declaration of the Legal Department, she added.
Leonardia said that, if one follows the chronology, the letter of the Legal Department was superceded by the President’s message and greetings.
“Whatever the conclusion from all these things, you cannot erase it as the records are telling us that the Charter of Bacolod City was signed on June 18. The SP calls it a commemoration of the signing,” he said.
The SP approved an ordinance last week declaring June 18 of every year as “Paghanduraw Day”.
Meanwhile, Barangay captain Jose Ayco of Brgy. 15, said in a letter to Leonardia dated June 18, that it is his opinion that celebrating the city’s charter day every October 19 for the past 72 years might be still correct.
He cited as example the cities of Cebu and Iloilo, that celebrate their Charter Day, not on the day their charters were signed into law, but after their first city officials were sworn into office.
Ayco said he is raising the matter not as a political issue but as a personal belief on matters regarding the city’s history.
Leonardia said everybody is entitled to his personal opinion. Granting that his opinion is true, it does not automatically mean that the circumstances are the same, he said.
There is nothing new. It is just a personal opinion against that of the entire Sangguniang Panlungsod, he added.*CGS