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Balleque cries foul as pro-admin councilors interrupt his speech

Allies of General Santos City Mayor Lorelie Pacquiao in the city council pushed back City Councilor Froebel Kan Balleque in his attempt to expound his privilege speech regarding the controversial P100 million El Niño assistance.

During Tuesday’s regular session, Balleque cried foul over what he claimed as a “glaring disregard” of the freedom of expression when pro-administration councilors denied him of his right to speak and defend himself during their previous session. Live stream of the session showed that Balleque started his speech at the 45:50 mark of the video.

“It was May 28, 2024, the 87th regular session of the Sangguniang Panlungsod. The day wherein freedom of expression was killed in this very august chamber. Wherein, there was a mockery of the rules of parliamentary procedure. Wherein there was a glaring disregard of the sense of fairness and fair play and grave brushing aside of the dictates of justice and democracy,” Balleque lamented.

While in the middle of his speech, SP majority leader Richard Atendido interrupted the speaker to remind him of the 20-minute time limit for privilege speech. It marked 1:00:43 in the video.

“I believe you have read the IRP… If you will not raise a motion, then you can stop… You are a lawyer, you have read the IRP, you understand the IRP,” the majority leader demanded.

Balleque tried to protest, but the majority bloc outvoted the opposition, seven to five.

“Sana bigyan natin ng karapatan ang mga kasamahan natin dito sa Konseho na i-voice out ang kanilang opinyon on certain issues that matters na ibinabato sa kanila,” City Councilor Jane Rivera explained her vote in support of Balleque.

“This is the beauty of parliamentary procedure… This is parliamentary procedure and this is the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the city of General Santos,” Atendido quipped.

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