Cebu News

To pay Ralloses, City properties to be auctioned: City Council threatened with contempt

- Rene U. Borromeo ug Mylen Manto -

CEBU, Philippines -  The heirs of the late Rev. Fr. Vicente Rallos have threatened to include the members of the Cebu City Council in the contempt charges if they will not initiate moves to comply with the court’s order regarding the payment of the P133 million for the 4,654 square-meter lots being used a public road in barangay Sambag II.

In a letter dated November 3, 2011 sent to the Cebu City Council, lawyer Glenn R. Cañete asked the city legislators led by Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young to initiate moves for the payment of the amount set by the court because the decision issued by then RTC Judge Benigno Gaviola in 2002 has long become final and executory.

The families of the late priest had already filed two contempt charges before the court against Mayor Michael Rama who insisted that he will not pay the huge amount to the Ralloses because he discovered a document signed by the Rallos heirs themselves in the 1940’s which stated that the road, which is situated in their lots in Sambag II, shall be donated to the City of Cebu for public use.

Cañete argued that the case has been decided by the court and the High Tribunal had affirmed the ruling.

Rama said he does not want to be blamed by the people, particularly the future generations, that he failed to do his duty to protect the funds of the city if he will allow for the payment of such “questionable claim.”

Rama, through City Legal Officer Joseph Bernaldez, had already warned the managers of the city’s depository banks from granting the court’s garnishment orders against their deposits because it is contrary to the Supreme Court ruling.

The court sheriff had also issued a notice of garnishment to the Register of Deeds against the city’s properties, specifically the city’s lots at the South Road Properties (SRP).

But Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young discouraged the Rallos heirs from pursuing their intention to garnish the real properties of the city because even if they will succeed, they still cannot use the property.

Young suggested that the Ralloses just wait because the City Council might also re-zone the area, where the lots are located, to be classified as a park or public plaza to prevent them from using the property for commercial purposes.

But Cañete warned the city legislators that if they will not comply with the court’s final order, the Ralloses might be compelled to ask the court to include them in the direct contempt charge and to have them placed behind bars until the court’s final and executory order is complied.

Meanwhile, the Office of the Sheriff formally announced that there will be a sale through public auction of the Cebu City Government’s real properties as payment for the Ralloses.

The courts has directed the City of Cebu to pay the heirs of Rev. Fr. Vicente Rallos for judgment debt totaling to P133,469,962.55 in cash, certified bank check or any form of payment.

Signed by Sheriff Eugenio Fuentes Jr., the order was posted yesterday in front of the Office of the RTC Clerk of Court of Cebu City.

In a two-page order, Fuentes stated that there will be a sale through public auction of the City of Cebu’s real properties on December 13, 2011 inside the Office of the Sheriff.

If for some reason the public auction will not push through on the said date, this will be moved to December 20, 2011 between 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The public auction was made after the City of Cebu refused to pay the debt after Mayor Michael Rama earlier said he has to protect the money of the people.

Fuentes issued a notice of garnishment to the banks where the money of the City Government were deposited to pay for the Ralloses but the banks manifested to the court that they cannot disburse the judgment debt of the City after Rama sent them a letter citing that the bank account balances are duly budgeted to cover the city’s operating expenditures for personnel services, maintenance and other operating cost, capital outlays and continuing appropriations.

Earlier, Regional Trial Court (RTC) acting Judge James Stewart Ramon Himalaloan of Branch 9 denied the motion of the City Government asking for the quashal of the writ of execution and to set aside the notice of garnishment saying cannot change the higher court’s ruling which directed the City of Cebu to pay the Ralloses. — (FREEMAN)

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