Cebu News

City to sue banks that pay Ralloses

- Rene U. Borromeo ug Mylen Manto -

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu City legal officer Joseph Bernaldez warned the managers of the city’s three depository banks that the city will sue them if they will grant the order of the court sheriff to garnish the city’s deposits with their banks.

Bernaldez, in his letter dated October 24, 2011 that were sent to Philippine Postal Banks, Philippine Veterans Bank and Land Bank of the Philippines, reminded the managers that the garnishment of public funds is illegal.

He cited a recent Supreme Court ruling in the case of the City of Caloocan vs. Allarde where the High Tribunal ruled in favor of the local government unit.

“All government funds deposited in the PNB or any other agencies or instrumentalities, whether by general or special deposit, remain government funds and may not be subject to garnishment or levy, in the absence of a corresponding appropriation as required by law,” the Supreme Court ruling read.

The city lawyers already filed motions before the Regional Trial Court asking the court to quash the writ of execution, to set aside the notice of garnishment against the city funds.

Court sheriff Eugenio Fuentes Jr. already issued orders to Nicanor Valles, manager of the Philippine Veterans Bank, directing him to deliver to the court the amount of P2,699,479 and P1,334,719 for the court’s share from the P133,469,962.55 final judgment of the court in the collection case in the case of Rev. Fr. Vicente Rallos vs. the City of Cebu.

The bank’s chief legal counsel Roel Costuna said that considering that there is no temporary restraining order, injunction or status quo order from the court against the enforcing sheriff “therefore no legal impediment to comply with the above demands of the sheriff who is acting within his rights for the delivery of the garnished funds.”

But the city lawyers said they are “warning all bank managers and or depository banks of the City of Cebu to act with prudence and refrain from hastily releasing the funds of the city. The city will take appropriate actions, whether civil, criminal, and administrative actions against any and all officers of the depository banks for any premature release of public money owned by the City of Cebu.”

The City Council in 2002 also made the same threat against the bank that allows the garnishment of the city’s deposits amounting to P34.9 million to the heirs of Rallos but failed to make good the threat.

The controversial lot Rallos heirs want the city to pay for is now called as M.L. Aznar Street. But the city lawyers said the road has been identified already by the Ralloses to be made a road in 1941 and it will be for public purpose.

Meanwhile, Lucina Rallos again filed indirect contempt charges against the city in relation to the judgment debt.

Rallos filed indirect contempt against Mayor Michael Rama, PVB President Ricardo Balbido Jr. and Valles. She said because of the refusal of the bank to deliver to the plaintiffs of the judgment debt P133,469,962.55 despite the notice of garnishment she filed indirect contempt. — (FREEMAN)

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