A lot of unnecessary drama unfolded last Tuesday, Feb. 23, at the Davao City council session on green spaces as councilor Maria Belen “Mabel” Acosta bore the brunt of her fellow councilors’ accusations on the issue of whether she invited Ateneo de Davao University President Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ or not.
Even before the council meeting started, friction between the councilors was already imminent as Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte blamed Acosta in an interview for the persistence of the green spaces issue due to her unwarranted invitation of guests and speakers every time there is a council meeting.
To add to the already palpable tension, Councilor Bernardo Al-ag accused Councilor Acosta of lying with regard to the invitation of Ateneo de Davao University President Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ.
Acosta, who said during the council that Fr. Tabora was not invited, was lambasted by her peers after the staff of Tabora confirmed that she indeed sent an invitation intended for him.
“So who is telling the truth the office of Fr. Tabora or you, that is why this council has doubts on your purpose in inviting these people because you keep on telling that you are not inviting them but these groups is telling them and you even have a letter given to Fr. Tabora inviting him to be present in the council. Why do you need to lie and not tell the truth bakit kailangan mong gawin yun,” Al-ag said.
Al-ag also pointed out and support Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte’s claim that Councilor Acosta still kept on inviting and allowing guests to the meeting even after the council already made its decision on who to invite or not.
Before Acosta could defend her side, Councilor Bonifacio Militar inserted himself into the picture and convinced the councilors that they should stop discussing the matter because it was not the purpose of the council meeting and there were more pressing issues on hand.After the short calm, turmoil once again broke free as Councilor Acosta pointed fingers to Councilor Diosdado Mahipus Sr., claiming that he called her a spoiled brat. After a brief exchange of bitter sentiments, Councilor Acosta was given two minutes by the council to speak for herself.
“Hindi po ako nag-imbita, it was the Ecoteneo, sa privilege hour hindi nakapag salita si Fr. Tabora when I read the letter, so inallow for the next session, and hindi natuloy sa next session dahil pumunta akong Manila. Fr. Tabora wanted to have a letter of invitation dahil ayaw niya na isipin ng iba na he was just barging in. I had no knowledge that the letter was forwarded to Fr. Tabora by my staff,” Acosta explained.
Ecoteneo representative Mylai Santos, who wrote the letter to invite Fr. Tabora to the council meeting, verified that everything Councilor Acosta said was true.
“Narinig naman niyo di ‘ba, Councilor Acosta, it was upon our request not just as Ecoteneo director but as a member of the Green Davao Coalition to please accommodate us because that is the time that we thought that the third reading will be deferred for one week and we later heard that it was deferred. We just asked a chance to be heard we knew very well that it’s done but our point was we just wanted our councilors to hear us and at the same time we communicated to the executive, that was it. And we are happy they heard us,” she said.
“Ang staff nalang niya gumawa ng letter kasi tama yunsi Fr. Tabora was asking for a document that he is part of the agenda for the session for the day because he did not want to impose himself. Everything that councilor Acosta said was true so let’s not put judgement or implication,” she added.