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Cebu News

Rama: No more re-inspections of damage at Palace of Justice

Kristine B. Quintas/BRP - The Philippine Star

CEBU, Philippines - "No engineers can go there anymore and re-inspect Hall of Justice!"

This was the order given out by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama following the announcement of Kenneth Carmelita Enriquez, head of the Department of Engineering and Public Works, before the city council during the deliberation of the proposed 2014 Annual Budget.

The Marcelo Fernan Hall of Justice was deemed unfit for occupancy after the October 15 earthquake that hit the provinces of Cebu and Bohol.

During a press conference yesterday, Rama said the prior findings of the Office of the Building Official and DEPW after their structural inspection were already enough, hence a re-inspection is not necessary and would only "worsen the passage of time".

"Unsa pa may tan-awon balik didto (Hall of Justice) nga pwerteng depekto? Unsa pa may kinahanglan usbon? The building is defective and that's enough," Rama said.

"The city council cannot be sending anyone without the mayor being aware," he added.

Since after the quake, the Regional Trial Court and Municipal Trial Court in Cities have been working under tents outside the building. Trials were also held in jails recently, awaiting the decision of the Supreme Court as to where they can continuously operate.

In answer to a question from Cebu City Councilor SisinioAndales,Enriquez said the third and fourth floors of the building can be retrofitted while the ground and first floors can then be utilized by the judges and court employees after repair and rehabilitation has been implemented.

Rama said RTC Executive Judge Soliver Peras saw how defective the building is, which will definitely put the lives of the employees in danger.

"Si Andales pa kaha didto para kakita siya sa depekto," he added.

Rama said the city government will not be handling any retrofitting of the building.

"Retrofit is not the job of the city…let it be a Supreme Court matter and let it be done by private civil engineers nga ilang gusto,"Rama said.

Meanwhile, Rama said the giving of allowances to the judges is a continuing program of the city government since the time of his predecessor, former mayor Tomas Osmeña.

Rama said it is acceptable considering that the judges' tasks are complicated and giving them incentives will not make them biased in their judgment.

Earlier during the budget hearing, Councilor Alvin Dizon proposed helping the judges with reconstructing their offices instead of giving them allowances which might be perceived negatively by the public.

The judiciary department's allowance ranges from P15,000 to P45,000. Under the Peace and Order program, P120 is proposed for the allowances and incentives of judiciary and police departments. — (FREEMAN)

ANNUAL BUDGET CEBU AND BOHOL CEBU CITY COUNCILOR CEBU CITY MAYOR MICHAEL RAMA CITY COUNCILOR ALVIN DIZON DEPARTMENT OF ENGINEERING AND PUBLIC WORKS HALL OF JUSTICE RAMA SUPREME COURT
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