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Citilink owner sues city over closure

Mylen P. Manto, Jean Marvette A. Demecillo (The Freeman) - July 31, 2015 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Claiming that there was no due process in the closure of its terminal, One Citilink Terminal Inc., represented by Felipe Code Ra Barrientos  Jr., has filed a civil case before the court against the Cebu City government.

It asked for the issuance of a temporary restraining order to stop the continuing implementation of Mayor Michael Rama’s closure order.

“The Honorable Court shall now intervene, exercise its inherent injunctive authority and power, otherwise these illegal acts, wanton, open and blatant abuse of authority of the defendants shall continue. Failure to enjoin these illegal acts of the defendants would allow a situation whereby one profits from his or her own illegal act,” read the complaint.

Aside from Rama and the Cebu City government, other named defendants are the city’s Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification, Enhancement and some unidentified persons.

One Citilink said that in 2003, the City Council passed an ordinance for the city to enter into a private public partnership (PPP) for the operation of the terminal, which is located beside the lot where the Cebu City Medical Center used to stand.

One Citilink said that  the contract that was subsequently signed was advantageous to the government because the city gets a share of 15 percent of gross sales or receipts and that it continued to be the only accredited terminal operator in the south.

It also said that because it failed to comply with some provisions under the Memorandum of Agreement it entered into, the city allegedly committed harassment.

One such act was the alleged issuance of delinquencies on the balances of the 15-percent government by OIC City Treasurer Diwa Cuevas.

Rama then issued a closure order on July 17, 2015 on the grounds that the terminal has been continuously operating without the necessary final mayor’s permit, unpaid obligations amounting to P12.8 million, Cebu City Medical Center chief’s Gloria Duterte’s March 17, 2015 objection to the continued operation of the terminal, and the city’s terminal accreditation committee recommending the immediate of cessation of the terminal’s operation.

One Citilink said the closure order violated its right to due process because it was not given time to air its side, arguing that the absence of a final mayor’s business permit is not a basis because the mayor’s permit it was issued with did not show that it was merely a temporary business permit.

In fact, One Citilink said, it had complied with and paid all the necessary business taxes and fees that are requisites for the issuance of a permit.

It also said that the P12.8-million obligation has already been resolved during an investigation by the accreditation committee and the City Council on January 29, 2014.

It also said that Duterte’s objection cannot be taken into consideration considering that the CCMC building is no longer there right now as it has already been demolished even before January 27, 2014.

The accreditation committee’s March 17 resolution that the City Council approved is also illegal, it added, as it was a violation of One Citilink’s right to due process.

Aside from the issuance of a TRO, writ of prohibitory and mandatory injunction to allow the resumption of terminal operation, One Citilink also asked for P120,000 as actual damages, P50,000 for legal expenses and P3,000 as appearance fee.

Sought for comment, City Hall lawyer Jun Casas said they were “surprised” by the filing of the complaint since the city has legal basis for the closure order.

“We are surprised with the filing of the case considering that the city has solid grounds for the closure of the terminal and due process was strictly observed in the implementation,” he said.

Casas said they will wait for their copy before answering all allegations One Citilink raised, adding that filing the complaint was within the terminal owner’s rights “and we respect that.” — /RHM (FREEMAN)

 

ACIRC CEBU CITY CEBU CITY MEDICAL CENTER CITILINK CITY CITY COUNCIL CITY HALL CITY TREASURER DIWA CUEVAS ONE ONE CITILINK TERMINAL
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