Row among Caloocan councilors rises as election season nears

Published November 25, 2020, 8:55 PM

by Joseph Pedrajas

Despite more pressing issues that need to be addressed amid the ongoing pandemic, a political row among the officials of the Caloocan City council has still risen due to differences as the 2022 elections nears.

Councilors Dean Asistio and Rose Mercado

During a privileged speech on Wednesday, Councilor Dean Asistio accused fellow Councilor Rose Mercado, an opposition party member, of being “unbecoming” during a recent session.

Asistio, through presenting a video taken during the session, said Mercado “shouted” and “hurled curse words” at a time another councilor was talking. Therefore, he suggested that Mercado be investigated by the city’s Committee on Ethic and Discipline for her “unbecoming conduct and discipline.”

In an interview with Manila Bulletin, Mercado clarified that the incident took place during a recess. She said she had an outburst of emotion as she and other councilors from the opposition party were being muted and not recognized during the previous session.

This came after a political snafu arose inside the council when Mercado recently changed her political alignment, in favor of the opposition party led by supposed 2022 mayoral aspirant and 2nd District Rep. Egay Erice.

According to Asistio, Mercado was removed as a majority floor leader.

However, Erice, in a Facebook post, disputed the claim and said that the councilor “resigned.” Mercado also said that prior to her removal, she tendered her resignation “effective upon receipt,” but it was not acknowledged.

“Now, we have five incumbent councilors as we expect more from the city council. Together we will fight for a better governance and [will be] against to [sic) any move to perpetuate one family in absolute power,” Erice added.

Currently, Caloocan City residents are still struggling with the coronavirus disease crisis. In despair, many of them are already taking to social media to press on their officials to provide them assistance, including the much-desired Social Amelioration Program cash aid.

Asistio pointed out that it is not the time for politics, saying in Filipino that, “with the ongoing pandemic, this is not the time to criticize each other. Let’s not bring politics in our sessions.”

“I hope that we do our responsibilities as councilors. We are elected by our constituents to serve them, and not the politicians behind you,” he added.

Mercado, meanwhile, noted that her changing of political alignment has a “bigger impact” as far as her being councilor is concerned. She also stood firm that it was necessary as there were things that she could not object due to her previous political alignment.

“Mas malaki pala po ang responsibilidad ko sa Caloocan rather than serving only the administration. Yun po yung nakita ko during this pandemic (I have bigger responsibility to Caloocan than to the administration. That’s what I saw during the pandemic). I pity those people who are in need pero hindi po na-aaddress ang needs,” she said.

“Maraming privileges na mawawala, ready na kami doon. Ganoon naman ang kalakaran, pag lumaban ka, umalis ka, mahihirapan ka. Eh hayaan na natin maghirap tayo kaysa naman sa mag-tiis, kaysa mapaburan ang alam naman nating merong mga irregularities (We might lose a lot of privileges and we’re ready for it. But that’s what it is. If you fight and leave your previous party, you will face challenges. But I’d let myself struggle rather than endure or get in favor with those who commit irregularities),” she added.