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CHAPTER 5

Staying the Course


Congressman Pidi, as he is fondly called by his
constituents is at present the only local politician of
legitimate national stature. He appears with regular
frequency in national trimedia and in the internet
because of his participation in issues of national
concerns like the 2013 debate on Meralcos P4.15per-kilowatt-hour rate increase. In the investigation
that was conducted in the House of Representatives,
Congressman Barzaga, together with Representative
Neri Colmenares of the Bayan Muna party-list was at
the forefront of denouncing Meralco, challenging the
proposed steep hike, and declaring the sixty-day (60)
TRO issued by the Supreme Court as a mere
temporary relief for the consumers. In 2008, he was
also took part in the congressional inquiry that
sought to compel Sulpicio Lines Inc., to compensate
victims of the latest maritime tragedy caused by
their vessel, and for its management to issue a
categorical commitment to shoulder the cost of
retrieving the vessel, including its toxic cargo.
During the 2012 impeachment trial of Supreme
former
Court
Chief
Justice
Renato
Corona,
Congressman Barzaga was part of the House
Prosecution panel. He was the secondary prosecutor
for Article II Failed to disclose to the public his
statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth as
required under the constitution. He was the lead
prosecutor for Article V Wanton arbitrariness and
partiality in consistently disregarding the principle of
res judicata in the cases involving the 16 newlycreated cities, and the promotion of Dinagat Island
into a province of the Articles of Impeachment. As
member of the House of Representatives Oversight
pg. 1

Committee on Dangerous Drugs, he participated in


the hearings which sought to deal with the difficulties
in implementing RA 9165 in recent drug cases
particularly that which involved the Alabang Boys
in order to determine the necessary legislative
measures that have to be undertaken.1
Despite his celebrity status, Congressman Elpidio
Barzaga is very accessible. He may be reached
through his official website; or through the Wikipedia
which has an article about him; his curriculum vitae
may be viewed on the House of Representatives
website; and his facebook account contains
abundant and timely status updates. In fact, he could
even be spontaneous like on April 1, 2014 when he
personally offered to help the author in producing the
documents needed for this book.
Barely a month later, his office called up with the
information that these documents were ready for
pick up. The following day, his chief-of-staff, Atty.
Kristian G. Barzaga also called up to make sure these
documents were received and inquired if more were
needed. With proper coordination, an interview could
be set with the Congressman. One was requested by
the author on July 4, 2014. Again, his office
confirmed it two days before the scheduled date.
His official website reveals that before all these,
Atty. Elpidio Pidi F. Barzaga, Jr. was a teacher and a
successful practicing CPA-Lawyer before his first
foray into public service in 1986 as the OIC-Municipal
Mayor of Dasmarias. The following year Atty.
Barzaga resumed his law practice as a trial lawyer
and returned to the academe as a teacher and
reviewer for the bar examinations. During the 1998
local elections, he ran and won as Municipal Mayor of
Dasmarias.

pg. 2

According to his website, his tenure was marked


with the municipalitys massive transformation into a
first class suburbia. The website continued that for
this reason he was overwhelmingly reelected as the
municipal mayor for three consecutive terms. In
extolling him the biography declared that those
uninterrupted nine years as municipal mayor
demonstrated Mayor Barzagas brilliance, unrelenting
passion, and determination as a public servant.
These exemplary attributes, it said, brought forth
innumerable infrastructure, educational, cultural,
civic, health and sports programs for the municipality
that were never realized before by any of his
predecessors.
After his term as Mayor he ran for the position as
representative of the second district of Cavite. His
constituents and those in the district who heard of
his accomplishments rewarded him with his first stint
as their Congressman. He unseated the incumbent,
Congressman Gilbert Remulla on July 1, 2007. In the
House of Representatives, Congressman Barzaga was
assigned to numerous house committees as either
the vice-chairman or member. These committees
were;
the
Committees
on
Constitutional
Amendments, Local Government, and Revision of
Laws and those of which he is a member namely the
Committees on Appropriations, Civil Service and
Professional Regulation, Good Government, Human
Rights, Justice, Population and Family Relations,
Public Works and Highways, Science and Technology,
Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, Transportation,
Veteran Affairs and Welfare and the Special
Committee on Southern Tagalog Development.
Congressman
Barzaga
has
authored
and
sponsored several bills including an act converting
the Municipality of Dasmarias into a component
city; a resolution requesting an investigation into oil
pg. 3

prices; a resolution requesting an investigation into


bidding on updating the Subic Bay Freeport Zone
master development plan; and a resolution
requesting an investigation of environmental issues
during the construction of a casino in Subic Bay
Freeport Zone. In 2009, along with fellow
representatives of Cavite Joseph Emilio Abaya and
Jesus Crispin Remulla, Barzaga co-authored an act
entitled The Cavite Congressional Reapportionment
Act of 2009, bringing the representatives of Cavite
from three to seven, and creating the legislative
district of Dasmarias City.2
In the 2010 congressional elections which
followed the conversion of Dasmarias into a
component city, he won via landslide victory against
his closest opponent Ramon Campos of the
Nacionalista Party. This win gave him the required
mandate to represent solely his fellow Dasmarineos
in the Philippine Congress.3
When his alma mater the Far Eastern University
celebrated its eighty years (80) founding anniversary
in 2008, Congressman Barzaga was conferred the
Outstanding Alumnus Award. The citation declared
that the award was given to Congressman Barzaga
for his continued service for the best interest of the
people, for his passion for truth and justice, and for
his advocacy to see that the common good prevail.
He received two more prestigious awards in the same
year; the Most Distinguished Bedan Award from the
San Beda College and the Most Outstanding
Congressman Award by the Congress Magazine.4
Congressman Barzaga married Jennifer Austria
Barzaga, a registered nurse, who bore him sons Francisco, Elpidio III, and Lorenzo.5
The Final Search for the Elusive Cityhood
pg. 4

The failures in 1997 and 2000 did not dampen the


resolve of Dasmarineos to obtain for their beloved
municipality the much sought after cityhood status
that have twice eluded them. Recent unofficial
surveys have shown that town residents were now
willing to push forward with cityhood. By this time
the municipal government had a new set of elected
official led by Mayor Jennifer Austria-Barzaga, a
registered nurse, an alumna of the De La Salle
University-Dasmarias College of Nursing, and the
wife of Congressman Barzaga. She holds the
distinction of being the towns very first woman
Mayor.
The general opinion at that time was that the
remarkable performance and good governance of
former Mayor Pidi Barzaga, her husband, made her
the popular choice to succeed him and that it was
instrumental in winning for her the mayoralty race in
the 2007 midterm elections by a large margin of
votes. Her performance would later on prove her
detractors wrong and naysayers alike for she would
be bestowed good governance awards for herself and
win three terms as the Municipal Mayor on her own
merits.
It is difficult for even the uninterested, like this
author, to overlook Mayor Jenny Barzagas
accomplishments. Her biographers claim that her
performance as the City Mayor mirrored her
profession for she nursed her constituents like a
mother tending to the needs of her children. Her
administration would be distinguished for her
emphasis on women empowerment, healthcare and
more benefits for the elderly and the disabled. 6 For
this she would be recognized with a Soroptomist
Award in 2007 by the Soroptomist International; as
the Most Outstanding Alumna of the De La Salle
University-Dasmarias in 2008; a strong contender
pg. 5

and finalist to the MERALCO Luminaries Award in


2012; was awarded the Department of Interior and
Local
Government
with
a
Seal
of
Good
Housekeeping in 2012; was first runner up in the
Search For Most Outstanding City Mayor by the
Association of Local Social Welfare and Development
Office of the Philippines, Incorporated; and solidifying
her stature as a genuine, hardworking and truthful
public servant, she was recognized in December
2012 as one of the seven Most Outstanding Mayors
in the Philippines 2012 by the Superbrands
Marketing International, Incorporated.7
Mayor Barzaga was not alone in working towards
the goal of cityhood for Dasmarias. She had the allout support from the members of the Sangguniang
Bayan who were all new to their posts except for SB
Member Teofilo B. Lara and former SB Member
Valeriano S. Encabo who was now the towns newlyelected Vice Mayor. The new regular members of the
Sangguniang Bayan were; Raul Rex D. Mangubat,
Robin Chester J. Cantimbuhan, Gavino C. Mercado,
Cecilio R. Dedace, Jr., Hermenegildo S. Mendoza, 8
Napoleon F. Gonzales, and Francisco K. Barretto. The
MCLB president, Teofilo F. Campano and President of
the SK Federation, Lady Margaret L. Encabo also
joined them in the town council.
The cityhood proposal was taken up anew during
33 regular session on August 19, 2008 of the
municipal council. From the minutes of said meeting,
it could be understood that the proposal was initiated
by Congressman Pidi Barzaga. He asked for the
passage by the Sangguniang Bayan of a resolution
requesting him to sponsor a bill for the creation of
Dasmarias as a city. He emphasized that the
municipal council consider the resolution as urgent.
So after having disposed of other matters in the
agenda, the OIC-Secretary to the Sanggunian,
rd

pg. 6

Maureen R. Mendoza, informed the body of the


Congressmans wish.
This was the cue that signaled SB Member Raul
Rex D. Mangubat to present the resolution. He
explained that the project of converting the
municipality into a city is worth pursuing because it
would hasten the towns growth and development.
Dasmarias, he lamented, should have been a city a
long time ago because it had been eligible to become
one even during the first time it pursued the goal. He
then moved for the suspension of the rules so that
the resolution may be approved immediately.9
Both motions presented by SBM Mangubat were
approved. In the division of the house that followed,
the resolution, Sangguniang Bayan Resolution No.
038-s-2008, which requested Congressman Elpidio
Barzaga to sponsor a bill for the creation of
Dasmarias as a city, was unanimously approved
and passed.10 It was signed by the OIC-Secretary to
the Sanggunian, Maureen R. Mendoza, attested and
certified to be duly adopted by the Municipal ViceMayor and Presiding Officer of the municipal council,
Hon. Valeriano S. Encabo, and finally approved and
signed on August 29, 2008 by the Municipal Mayor
Hon. Jennifer Austria-Barzaga.
The new resolution recounted the passage of the
cityhood project from September 28, 1995 when the
Sangguniang Bayan passed Resolution No. 124-s1995 requesting then Congressman Dragon to help
lobby for the towns conversion into a city until its
failure in the Philippine Senate. It was then revived
with passage of SB Resolution No. 160-s-1999 on
October 4, 1999 requesting Congressman Ayong
Maliksis help, but this too failed, again, in the
Senate. The project was revitalized in 2001 when the
Sangguniang Bayan passed on October 16, 2001
Resolution No. 121-s-2001 which requested the Hon.
pg. 7

Gilbert C. Remulla his help in sponsoring Dasmarias


cityhood. This one never took off because
Congressman Remulla never even bothered to reply
to that resolution.11
In justifying Bayan Resolution No. 038-s-2008, the
Sangguniang Bayan explained that: even after a
long and hard course during the past to attain
Cityhood, the Municipality still strongly propels for its
conversion as a City, especially with the occurrence
and vigorous presence of its then Municipal Mayor
Elpidio F. Barzaga Jr. in the House of Representatives;
considering the past and present status of the
Municipality, Dasmarias is very much eligible for
cityhood; in order to meet the growing demands of
the people and to further improve the delivery of
basic services, its status must be upgraded from
municipality into a city; based on extensive research
and study, the transformation of the Municipality into
a City will greatly enhance the momentum of growth
in terms of income, powers, prestige, and of course,
service; by becoming a city, economic returns in
terms of income will automatically increase even
without raising or improving new taxes.12
Back to the House of Representatives
The fourth attempt by the proponents to convert
Dasmarias into a city was during the 4 th Congress. It
was convened after the 2007 general elections. That
election resulted to the replacement of half of the
Senate membership, and the entire membership of
the House of Representatives. That year too was the
celebration of the centennial year of the Philippine
legislature which was first convened in 1907. The 4 th
Congress tenure ended with the 2010 general
elections.
Armed with the latest Sangguniang Bayan
cityhood resolution, Congressman Barzaga had a bill
pg. 8

drafted and filed on September 9, 2008. It was


numbered House Bill No. 5087 and reproduced for
distribution to the members of the Committee on
Local Government. In the bills explanatory notes,
Congressman Barzaga claimed that the Municipality
of Dasmarias has come a long way from a once
obscure agricultural municipality in the Province of
Cavite to a burgeoning metropolis located at the
outskirts of Metro Manila.
At the time of the filing of the bill, Dasmarias was
experiencing a dramatic change in the life and
culture of its population. He maintained that, It is no
longer the Dasmarias of rustic and rural character,
but a Dasmarias that has all the amenities of a
highly-urbanized city bustling with industrial and
commercial establishments which can be found in
other modern cities in the Philippines today.
In seeking the conversion of Dasmarias to a
component city, Congressman Barzaga explained
that Having all these amenities of cosmopolitan
living has however put tremendous pressure upon
the Municipal Government to deliver basic services,
not only to make every family living in Dasmarias
to have a safe and pleasant stay in this burgeoning
town. The conferment of cityhood status, and the
accruing benefits from such conferment, will
certainly enable the local government to effectively
and adequately respond to the requirements of
Dasmarias residents.
The bill, aside from enabling the generation of
resources to be able to fund every activity, project or
program that will redound to the benefit of its own
population, also aimed to enhance the local
governments capability to sustain its momentum for
growth and progress with the expected additional
resources once it becomes a component city.13
pg. 9

Having dealt with the first reading, House Bill No.


5087 was referred by the House Speaker to the
Committee on Local Government for its evaluation
and appropriate action.
The HOR Committee on Local Government
The Committee on Local Government, chaired by
Congressman George P. Arnaiz, Representative of the
2nd District of Negros Oriental, took up House Bill No.
5087 during its meeting on September 24, 2008.
Present during that committee hearing was a
contingent from Dasmarias headed by Mayor Jenny
Barzaga, eight regular members of the Dasmarias
Sangguniang Bayan, the ABC President, and SB
Secretary, Ms. Fe Javier.14
During his sponsorship speech, Congressman
Barzaga declared that based on the document
submitted to the Committee, the Municipality of
Dasmarias met the requirements for conversion into
a city. These requirements being; a general average
annual income of, at least 100 million for two
consecutive years, and either of the following; a
population of 150,000 residents or a land area of 100
square kilometers. For the last two (2) years, he
continued, the Municipality of Dasmarias has a
locally generated average annual income of
P145,188,807.84. For the same period, its average
income including the internal revenue allotment
reached of P471,934,499.17. As to the other
requirements, Congressman Barzaga reported that
based on the latest census, certified by the National
Statistics Office, the population of the municipality as
of August 1, 2007, had reached 556,330.15
Congressman Barzaga also announced that the
Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Cavite has approved
the resolution, Annex H of the bill, showing their
support for the conversion of the Municipality of
pg. 10

Dasmarias into a city. He added that the Governor


Ayong Maliksi and the Provincial Council of Cavite
interposed no objection to the bill as shown by a
certification that the Governor issued a certification
to that effect. The certification was submitted to the
Committee Secretary for its proper disposal.
Congressman Barzaga proceeded to issue a
manifestation for the record that House Bill No. 5087
was already the third attempt to convert the
Municipality of Dasmarias into a city. The first was
during the 10th Congress when Congressman Rene
Dragon actually sponsored a similar bill which was
docketed as House Bill No. 8931. The second attempt
was tried by then Congressman Ayong Maliksi during
the 11th Congress through House Bill No. 7478.
Unfortunately both failed, suffering the same fate of
not having been acted favorably by the Senate. The
Congressman then prayed that the third attempt was
a request, our esteemed colleagues, to act
favorably, to consider this bill in this Committee
hearing today.
After the manifestation, Representative Victor F.
Agbayani of the 2nd District of Pangasinan manifested
his support for the Gentleman from Cavite, in view
of the very scholarly presentationand the very
thorough explanation that he has given in support of
this House bill.16 He then moved that the Committee
approve House Bill No. 5087. A chorus of voices
seconded the motion.
Before declaring the approval of the house bill,
Congressman George P. Arnaiz the Committee
Chairman, called on the invited guests who were
invited to authenticate the certifications that were
presented to the Committee. Ms. Ma. Solita C.
Vergara, a statistician from the National Statistics
Office certified to the correctness of the August 1,
2007 population of Dasmarias as 556,330. What
pg. 11

followed was the authentication of the certification of


issued by Ma. Presentacion R. Montesa, Executive
Director of the Bureau of Local Government Finance
that states:
the average annual regular income of
Dasmarias, Cavite for calendar years 2006
and 2007 based on 2000 constant prices,
exclusive of IRA, special funds, transfer and
non-recurring income [italics not mine] One
Hundred Forty-Five Million One Hundred EightyEight Thousand Eight Hundred Seven Pesos &
84/100 (P145,188,807.84), which is above the
minimum
income
requirement
of
P100,000,000.00
pursuant
to
RA
9009
amending Section 450 of R.A. 7160 (The Local
Government Code of 1991) for the conversion
of a municipality into a component city.17
After the authentication process, the Committee
Chairman asked the body for any objections to the
motion. Hearing none, he then declared the approval
of House Bill No. 5087 which was an Act converting
the Municipality of Dasmarias in the Province of
Cavite into a component city to be known as the City
of Dasmarias. Congressman Barzaga stood up and
manifested the deepest gratitude of the local
government
officials
of
the Municipality
of
Dasmarias who were present during that Committee
hearing.
The Committee Report No. 1348 was prepared
and submitted to the Bills and Index Division of the
House of Representatives on October 3, 2008. This
was in preparation of the bills presentation for the
period of debates and amendments in the Houses
plenary session. It was reproduced and submitted as
House Bill No. 5258, in substitution of House Bill No.
5087. The amendment was carried out in the
pg. 12

committee level in order to include of the names of


committee members as co-authors of the bill. Like in
the committee level, the proposed City Charter for
Dasmarias breezed through the period of debates
and amendments in the plenary session. It was
approved by the House of Representatives without
opposition and submitted to the Senate for their
concurrence.
Back to the Senate One More Time
Congressman Barzaga admitted that his being a
member of the House of Representatives, and Vice
Chairman of the House Committee on Local
Government have vastly enhanced the chances of
House Bill No. 5258 in hurdling the obstacles in the
lower house. The Senate was an altogether different
matter. Over there, Congressman Barzaga, have to
bring in bigger guns and more allies for the
opposition, twice responsible for the rejection of
Dasmarias City Charter bill in the past, was wellconnected and well-entrenched (Barzaga 2014), and
on this third attempt would once again rear its ugly
head and try to block the Dasmarineos dream of
cityhood anew.
The document entitled History of Bills and
Resolutions in the Senate Archives provides useful
information for researchers because it contains the
synopsis of the Senates action on a bill. In the case
of House Bill No. 5258, it showed that it was filed on
November 20, 2008. The first reading took place on
November 25, 2008 and was referred to the Senate
Committee on Local Government which was at that
time chaired by Senator Benigno Aquino III. Six
month later, on May 28, 2009, the committee
submitted its report, Committee Report No. 514,
which recommended the bills approval without
amendments. On June 2, 2009, it was calendared for
pg. 13

Ordinary Business, which means that although it


was not a priority bill it would nevertheless be
presented for floor debates.18
On August 19, 2009, the bill was moved for the
Senates Special Order of Business for priority
action. On that date the committee chairman,
Senator Benigno S. Aquino III, delivered his
sponsorship
speech.
The
interpellation
was
undertaken by Senators Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr., and
Manuel A. Roxas II. During that session, Senator Juan
Miguel F. Zubiri manifested his intention to become
co-sponsor of this bill together with Senators; Jinggoy
Ejercito Estrada, Joker P. Arroyo, Rodolfo G. Biazon,
Richard J. Gordon, Gregorio B. Honasan II, Panfilo M.
Lacson, Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr., Manuel A. Roxas II,
and Juan Ponce Enrile. Senator Richard Gordon, for
his part, requested on September 28, 2009 that he
be made co-author of the bill.
At this point, Congressman Barzaga was confident
that the bill would pass the Senate as he was assured
by the Senator Benigno Aquino III that Senators
Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Bong Revilla would not
oppose it. Senator Revilla was even quoted to have
agreed that Dasmarias was eligible for cityhood.
However, in the middle of the process, words came
from Senator Estrada that Senator Bong Revilla
changed his mind about supporting the bill and
decided to oppose it like his father before him did.
This is where Congressman Barzagas closeness to
former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo proved
helpful.
Upon hearing the sad news, Congressman
Barzaga went to the Malacaang Palace to ask for
her help in convincing the Senators to support
Dasmarias cityhood. President Arroyo obliged and
called then Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile
instructing him to convince Senator Estrada and
pg. 14

Senator Revilla to cease and desist from opposing


the proposed City Charter of Dasmarias.19
Few days later, a notice came from Senator
Revillas camp asking Congressman Pidi Barzaga and
Mayor Jenny Barzaga to talk with the Senator. After
discussions, husband and wife made the decision
have Mayor Jenny Barzaga accept the Senators
invitation, talk to him, and convince him to support
Dasmarias cityhood. Congressman Barzaga would
not be in attendance but he asked the Mayor to relay
his message to Senator Revilla. Basically his
message said that residents of Dasmarias will not
take the Senators opposition to the towns drive to
become a city sitting down. He swore that should
Senator Revilla insist on blocking the bill, he would
be constrained to take residents and lead them to a
rally in front of the Philippine Senate. He said that
they would bring along with them three huge coffins
representing the three times that the Senate
frustrated the municipalitys bid for cityhood. All
three failures, he reminded the Senator, were caused
by the Senators father and himself. The
Dasmarineos have had enough of petty politics. In
unity with them, Congressman vowed, to achieve
what was truly deserve.20
The meeting between Mayor Jennifer Barzaga and
Senator Ramon Revilla, Jr., took place and obviously
helped the cause of Dasmarineos. On September
28, 2009, the motion to close the period of
interpellation and amendments was unanimously
approved paving the way for the passage of House
Bill No. 5258 on second reading without
amendments. Copies of said bill were then
distributed to all senators the following day and the
schedule for the third reading was set on October 5,
2009. On that day, the senators voted for the
pg. 15

approval of the bill with eighteen votes in favor, no


one against, and zero abstention.
The approved bill was returned to the lower house
on October 8, 2009 to determine if the Houseapproved version is compatible with that of the
Senates, after which the enrolled form of the final
version is printed. Since it was determined that no
differences were needed to be reconciled, there was
no need to call for a bicameral conference
committee. After both the House of Representatives
and the Senate have given final approval to a bill, a
final copy of the bill, known as the enrolled bill,
shall be printed, and certified as correct by the
Secretary of the Senate and the Secretary General of
the House of Representatives. After which, it will be
signed by the Speaker of the House and the Senate
President. The enrolled copies of HBN-5258, was
received by the Senate for the signature of Senate
Secretary Reyes and Senate President Enrile on
October 14, 2009. On that very same day, it was
transmitted to the House of Representatives for the
signatures of the HOR Secretary General and the
Speaker.
The next day, on October 15, 2009, the final form
of House Bill No. 5258 was submitted to Malacaang
for the approval and signing into law by the President
of the Philippine Republic which she did. President
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed the bill into law and
was henceforth referred to as Republic Act No. 9723.
After the presidential approval, the bill was
reproduced and copies of which were sent to the
Official Gazette Office for publication and distribution
to the implementing agencies. It was then included in
the annual compilation of Acts and Resolutions.

Preparing for the Plebiscite


pg. 16

The plebiscite where the people of Dasmarias


would ratify the City Charter was originally scheduled
to coincide with the May 2010 elections. If that
happened, the cityhood of Dasmarias would take
effect in 2010 yet. The accountant in Congressman
Barzaga didnt like the implication of that schedule
because it would mean another missed opportunity
for Dasmarias to earn the additional income of at
least P300 million in IRA share for the year 2009. He
decided that he needed to urge the Commission on
Election to hold a separate plebiscite for Dasmarias
within 2009. To achieve this, he should convince
COMELEC Chairman Jose A. R. Melo of the urgency of
his plan. Fortunately for him and the Dasmarineos
Chairman Jose Melo, claiming of Cavite family roots,
agreed to the recommendation. Having successfully
maneuvered for the holding a plebiscite in 2009,
Congressman Barzaga asked Chairman Melo to direct
Deputy Executive Director for Operations Bartolome
J. Sinocruz, Jr., to study and submit a report for the
proposal for an earlier ratification of the Dasmarias
City Charter.
On October 20, 2009, the Commission on Election
en banc took up the matter in response to the
October 19, 2009 memorandum (Sinocruz 2009) by
Comelec Deputy Executive Director for Operations
Bartolome J. Sinocruz, Jr. In the said memorandum
Director Sinocruz confirmed receipt of a copy of RA
9723 by his office on October 16, 2009, compliance
to the requirements of publication on two (2) national
newspapers, and the payment of the filing fee of
P5,000. In view of these, his office recommended the
approval of the conduct of the plebiscite on
November 25, 2009.
An important attachment accompanied the
memorandum. The document was a certification by
the Municipal Budget Officer of Dasmarias; Cavite
pg. 17

which stated that amount of P15,921,250.00 was


available for the purpose. The earmarked amount
was based on the statistical profile of Dasmarias
electorates; seventy five (5) barangays; 268,939
registered voters as of April 20, 2009 ERB hearing;
2,057 established precincts; and 1,311 clustered
precincts. 21
Having considered the findings of Deputy
Commissioner Sinocruz, the Commission resolved to
approve his recommendations subject to the
remittance of the Dasmarias municipal government
of the amount budgeted for the conduct of the
plebiscite. The resolution was signed on October 20,
2009 by COMELEC Chairman Jose A. R. Melo and the
six (6) Commissioners; Rene V. Sarmiento, Nicodemo
T. Ferrer, Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, Elias
R. Yusoph, and Gregorio Y. Larrazabal with the
instruction for Deputy Director Sinocruz to implement
said operation (Commission on Elections 2009).
On November 25, 2009, a total of 44,704
registered Dasmarineo voters trooped to 1,469
polling precincts in order to vote in the affirmative or
in the negative on the question: Do you approve of
the conversion of the Municipality of Dasmarias;
Province of Cavite into a component city pursuant to
Republic Act No. 9723 dated October 15, 2009?
The following day on November 26, 2009, the
Plebiscite Municipal Board of Canvassers issued a
certificate of canvass of votes and proclamation that
there were thirty six thousand five hundred fifty nice
(36,559) affirmative votes against eight thousand
one hundred forty one (8,141) negative votes. The
certification further stated that on the basis of the
36,559 majority of the votes cast in the entire
Municipality of Dasmarias, the board of canvassers
proclaimed that the conversion of the Municipality of
pg. 18

Dasmarias into a component city was ratified and


approved.22

The Promises of Cityhood Fulfilled


In order to gain their support, proponents of the
cityhood project impressed upon the minds of
Dasmarineos that once the conversion is attained, it
would bring about more progress and development
for Dasmarias because of the expected increase in
its income. This increased income would in turn
result to more efficient delivery of basic social
services
and
improved
infrastructures
and
equipment. More importantly, they insisted that this
could be accomplished without raising the rates for
real estate taxes.
Congressman Barzaga intended to immediately
fulfill these promises. He insisted in holding the
plebiscite in 2009 because the Dasmarineos who
have waited for the fulfillment of their dream of
cityhood for twenty (20) years could no longer wait
another year for the benefits they so rightly
deserved.
Although Section 4 of Republic Act No. 9723
expressly granted the newly-converted component
city the authority to exercise the power to levy taxes,
Section 63 of the same act forbade the Dasmarias
City Sangguniang Panlungsod from legislating
ordinances that would increase rates of taxation on
real properties until 2014. Increased real estate taxes
could, therefore, is ruled out as a source of its
additional revenue for the newly-created city.
However, Section 4 of the Charter and Section 151 of
the Local Government Code of 1991 states that:

pg. 19

. . .the city, may levy the taxes, fees, and


charges which the province or municipality
may impose: Provided, however that the taxes,
fees, and charges levied and collected by
highly urbanized and independent component
cities shall accrue to them and distributed in
accordance with the provisions of this Code.
The rates of taxes that the city may levy may
exceed the maximum rates allowed for the
province or municipality by not more than fifty
percent (50%) except the rates of professional
and amusement taxes [italics mine].
Armed with the knowledge of the abovementioned Local Government Code provision, the
newly-minted Sangguniang Panlungsod met on its 2 nd
Special Session on March 10, 2010. After the session,
Tax Ordinance No. 01-s-2010, which was sponsored
by SPM Raul Rex D. Mangubat, was passed. It
declared that:
. . .taxes, fees, charges, and other impositions
which were previously levied and collected by
the Provincial Government from persons,
properties, businesses, acts, and other matters
within the jurisdiction of the City of Dasmarias
shall now be collected by and for the City of
Dasmarias, Cavite.23
The list of these taxes, fees, and other impositions
included: tax on real properties; tax on transfer of
real property ownership; tax on the business of
printing and publication; franchise tax; professional
tax; amusement tax; annual fixed tax for every
delivery truck or van of manufacturers or producers,
wholesalers of, dealers, or retailers in, certain
products; tax on sand, gravel, and other quarry
resources; groundwater extraction tax; golfers
environmental fees; Secretarys fees; and Mayors
permit fees.24
pg. 20

These taxes and the increased share in the


Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) became the source
of additional income for the City. As promised, more
infrastructure projects were put up by the city
government in order to improve delivery of basic
services. The construction of two hundred (200)
classrooms in various public elementary and high
schools were completed at the cost of P146 million
became an important project. This amount did not
include the cost for the repairs and renovations of
various public school buildings. Another was the
construction of one hundred and three (103) covered
courts, each costing P5 million, all over the city for
use on various sports and social activities.
The city government also caused the construction,
repair, and improvement of 22 public Day Care
Centers amounting to P9.2 million. Road shoulders
were widened, improved, and lighted for a cost of
P126.7 million. Sidewalk drainage were constructed,
others rehabilitated and improved with the amount of
P28.8 million. Another P38.5 million was spent for the
repair, concreting, and asphalting of various city
roads. For convenience and safety of commuters,
waiting sheds were constructed at strategic location
for the cost of P8.4 million.
In order to avert the citys traffic problems from
worsening, signs and safety devices in major
thoroughfares were rehabilitated and improved.
Some of these improvements were the installation of
LED traffic lights at 9 major intersections which cost
P22.6 million, the installation of 14 Closed Circuit
Television (CCTV) Cameras in major intersections,
and the construction of lighted center islands planted
with trees and ornamental plants. Bridges were
constructed and repaired, so were pedestrian
overpasses with PNP substations, and a footbridge
with elevators.
pg. 21

Part of the city governments cultural programs


was the construction of its very own park. In line with
this they had one constructed, a 3,964 square meter
part for P8.4 million which they called the
Dasmarias City Park. To make this landmark
accessible even at night, lightings on all roads
leading to it were either rehabilitated or installed.
The citys education sector received a sizeable
amount its various projects and activities beside the
construction of infrastructures. The city government
operated one hundred six (106) public day care
centers which have already graduated 98,816
students. All these graduates enjoyed free
matriculation and textbooks. It also hired and paid
the salaries of ninety six (96) additional day care
workers.
A total of P34.5 million from local government
funds was allocated to finance the education of
various scholars which totaled one thousand three
hundred nineteen (1,319) scholars. It also funded an
Alternative Learning System for non-graduates of
elementary and secondary educations.
The city government had a city library, Aklatang
Panlungsod ng Dasmarias constructed. It offers
among others a Basic Computer Education Program
for public high school students, Library Exposure Trip
Program, Storytelling, Puppetry, Film Viewing, free
arts and literature workshops, and Bahay Pag-asa
Library Visitation Program. For children with special
needs, the city operates the City of Dasmarias
Center for Children with Special Needs at the DASCA
Building.
The additional income was also used to improve
the delivery of health services for Dasmarineos. The
city purchased and maintained ten (10) ambulances,
twenty one (21) garbage trucks, two (2) street
pg. 22

sweepers, and one (1) fire truck. It enabled the


operation of an Animal Bite Center which was able to
serve 15,970 Dasmarineos in 2010. The operation
of a Public Drug Testing Center was made possible by
the additional financial resources, and so were the
annual anti-dengue, cervical and breast cancer,
measles and tuberculosis campaigns. Medical and
dental missions and feeding programs held at 75
barangays and public schools became regular
offerings by the city health services units. Residents
availed of free cataract screening and operation, free
infant immunization, free eyeglasses, and free
dentures. Even dog owners can now avail of services
from the City Veterinarian that included free antirabies vaccination for dogs, free animal castration,
and impounding of stray dogs.
Residents can now purchase low-cost medicines
from fifty four (54) Botica ng Barangay, and two (2)
Botica ng Bayan. An additional ten thousand (10,000)
of them have become card-carrying members of the
Philhealth. The City Health Services department now
operates the Dasmarias Lying-in Clinic, 24/7. Every
barangay in the city had been assigned one (1)
midwife each. Another P419.2 million was allotted by
the city government for the construction of the
Pagamutan ng Dasmarias, a 5-storey, 106-bed, fully
air-conditioned tertiary public hospital.
In order to eliminate cases of bocha and ensure
the delivery of fresh and healthy meat to its
residents, they earmarked P78 million to construct
the Dasmarias City Slaughter House. The city
slaughter house is located in a one thousand two
hundred forty one (1,241) location which was
acquired by the city government at a cost of P8.1
million.
Determined to improve the livelihood and
employment conditions of its residents, the city
pg. 23

government organized training sessions in food


processing, baking, cosmetology, massage, candlemaking, and soap-making. It also helped the plight of
the citys farmers with the Tanim Lusog Program,
financial
assistance,
and
micro-entrepreneur
livelihood exhibits. Mega Job Fairs were held in
cooperation with two of the citys employers; the SM
City Dasmarias and Robinsons Place Dasmarias. In
2011 alone, these malls provided employments to
3,584 job applicants from all over the metropolis.
With more financial resources at their disposal,
the city was able to regularly stage shows and
programs aimed at highlighting the various talents of
Dasmarineos, preserve its cultural legacies, and
promote the socialization of city residents. Regular
funding were allocated for the staging of; Saturday
Cultural Shows at the City Quadrangle; Ginoo at
Binibining Dasmarias; Ginoo at Binibining Sunduan;
the commemoration of Dasmarias Day every 5th of
October; the celebration of the Cityhood of
Dasmarias every November 26 dubbed the Paruparo Festival; the weeklong celebration of the Feast
of the Immaculate Conception; various Christmas
Parties for various social sectors; the Balikbayan
Night; launching of the Dasmarias City mascots
Das Sipag, Mar Dunong, Inas Sinop, and City Saya;
and the live telecast of city events over the City
Cable Channel.
With a City Mayor who is also a sports enthusiast,
the funding for a variety of sports activities was
assured. There is in the City of Dasmarias an Annual
Inter-Barangay Sports Tournament, the Summer
Sports Clinic, the City Government Employees
Sportsfest, the DAPSAA, the DIPSAA, and City Meet.
Winners were selected during these sports events
and sent to participate in the annual STCAA Meet.
pg. 24

The
Citys
social
services
were
likewise
strengthened with the operation of the Bahay Kalinga
Center for Children in Conflict with the Law. It had so
far served one thousand forty one (1,041) delinquent
minors housed in its premises. Senior citizens of the
City enjoy free movie passes at SM Cinemas on
Mondays and Tuesdays; get makeover sessions,
ballroom dancing classes, monthly medical checkups,
regular bingo socials, sports tournaments, and
physical fitness exercises every Saturday. It has also
a program for Persons with disabilities.
Recently the city government inaugurated, in time
for the 2014 Araw ng mga Kaluluwa festivities, the
Panteon de Dasmarias. The project constructed
niches in the public cemetery and was completed
with the cost of P58.2 million. It aims objective to
provide free memorial services to Dasmarineos.

A New Emblem for a Wider and Stronger


Mission
The proclamation of the cityhood of Dasmarias
on November 26, 2009 marked the transformation of
the Citys official emblem. Although it retained the
nine fundamental elements of the old municipal logo
of the; the rising sun, the people/family, the laurel
leaf, the people planting, the buildings, the church,
the gear, and the housing, the new logo added new
elements to mirror the underlying principles of the
cityhood of Dasmarias.
The new city logo was executed by Ryan Suarez.
His design was adjudged the winner in the City Logo
Making Contest on May 31, 2010. The official
emblem of the City symbolically stands to the
pg. 25

intrinsic qualities of Dasmarias. It also conveys the


City Governments wider vision of a city with a
balance of all that exists; livability for its people
which encompasses security, peace, order, comfort
and convenience; access to education and
enhancement of knowledge; open opportunities for
employment and livelihood; holistic approaches in
doing and attracting business; a rich cultural setting;
lots of opportunities for physical exercise, leisure and
recreational activities; and accessible and affordable
primary healthcare institutions and services.

NOTES

pg. 26

Quismoro, Ellson A. and Charissa Luci, Petilla hit for lawyering for Meralco Manila Bulletin,
December 29, 2013, http://www.mb.com.ph/petilla-hit-for-acting-as-legal-counsel-ofmeralco/accessed November 2, 2014; Esguerra, Christian V., Govt moves to tie up Sulpicio
assets Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 23, 2008,
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20080723-150117/Govt-moves-to-tie-upSulpicio-assets.
2

Official Website of Congressman Pidi Barzaga, Hearings,


http://www.pidibarzaga.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=51; House of
Representatives, Member Information, Elpidio Barzaga, Jr.,
http://www.congress.gov.ph/members/; Official Website of Congressman Pidi Barzaga, About Pidi,
http://www.pidibarzaga.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=53/accesses
October 20, 2014
3

Republic Act No. 9727, (2009).

Member Information: Elpidio F. Barzaga, Jr.

Congressman Elpidio F. Barzaga, Jr. and Mayor Jennifer Austria Barzaga were married on
January 31, 1998. Facebook Account, Mayor Jennifer Austria-Barzaga,
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mayor-Jennifer-Austria-Barzaga/1411146509105832?
sk=info/accessed October 30, 2014
6

Official Website of Congressman Pidi Barzaga, Pidi as Mayor.


http://www.pidibarzaga.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=53/accesses
October 20, 2014
7

Jennifer Barzaga, Resume, TMS (photocopy).

SBM Hermenegildo Mendoza was member of the Sangguniang Bayan during first attempt at
cityhood in 1997, in the second attempt on 1998, and during the third in 2001. See, Figure 4.
9

Sangguniang Bayan of Dasmarias, Minutes of the 33rd regular session, 19 August 2008,
(photocopy), 2.
10

Ibid. 3.

11

Sangguniang Bayan of Dasmarias, Resolution No. 121-s-2001, Resolution requesting the


Hon. Gilbert Remulla, Congressman for the 2nd District of Cavite, to sponsor a bill for the creation
of Dasmarias as a city, 16 October 2001, (photocopy), 1-2.
12

Explanatory Note of House Bill No. 5087, See, Philippine Congress, House of Representatives,
an Act Converting the Municipality of Dasmarias in the Province of Cavite into a component city
to be known as the City of Dasmarias, 14th Congress, 2nd Regular Session, House Bill No. 5087,
(09 September 2008), (photocopy), 1-2.
13

House Bill No. 5087, Fact Sheet, photocopy

14

House of Representatives, Committee on Local Government, Minutes of Committee Meeting,


(24 September 2008).
15

Ms. Ma. Solita C. Vergara, a statistician from the National Statistics Office, had been invited to
authenticate and certify certifications that have been submitted to the Committee. See,
Committee on Local Government, Minutes of Committee Meeting, (24 September 2008).

16

Ibid.

17

Bureau of Local Government Finance, Certification issued on the population of Dasmarias,


(August 1, 2007), TMS (photocopy).
18

Senate of the Philippines, Legislative History, House Bill No. 5258, Second Regular Session,
14 Congress 2008. https://www.senate.gov.ph/lis/bill_res.aspx?congress=14&q=HBN5258/accessed November 2, 2014.
th

19

Barzaga interview, July 4, 2014.

20

Ibid.

21

Commission on Elections, Minutes of the Regular En Banc Meeting, (October 20, 2009),
(photocopy); The Commission on Election presented a budget estimate of P15,921,250 for
plebiscite expenses in connection with the ratification of cityhood for Dasmarias. This was
prepared by Ma. Isabel T. Salutim, the EFO-In-Charge and was noted by the Bartolome J. Sinocruz,
Jr., the Deputy Executive Director for Operation, Annex B Budget Estimate. See, Ibid.
22

Commission on Elections, Certificate of Votes and Proclamation by the Plebiscite Municipal


Board of Canvassers, (November 26, 2009, (photocopy).
23

Sangguniang Panlungsod of Dasmarias, Tax Ordinance No. 01-s-2010, (March 10, 2010), p.

24

Ibid

2.