On parian drop-in center: Margot can’t act on her own capacity – lawyer
May B. Miasco/NSA (The Freeman) - September 17, 2015 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines - As far as a lawyer is concerned, the 50-year-old contract lease for the establishment of the Parian Drop-in Center in Cebu City is authorized to the Children of Cebu Foundation, not to its chairperson Councilor Margarita Osmeña.

Lawyer Michael Yu, former Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Cebu City Chapter president, said that a corporation and an individual have two different personalities when it comes to an agreement.

“A corporation or non-government organization is composed of Board of Trustees. A corporation can only act through its Board of Trustees and it just so happened that the chairperson was Margot. Therefore, she cannot act on her own capacity but rather through the board,” he said.

Mayor Michael Rama recently visited the two-storey facility along Sikatuna Street as he plans to develop it in order to accommodate more rescued children in the city.

Osmeña, though, said the city could not pursue with reconstructing the building since there is an existing lease of contract.

She said the government needs to coordinate first with those who run the drop-in center before proceeding with this plan.

“Margot rather signed on behalf of the corporation, sitting as the chairperson, but it does not mean that she signed on her own personal capacity and that for her own benefit. We should not be confused with that,” Yu said.

Before the signing, a resolution dated November 6, 1989 authorized Margarita’s husband, former mayor Tomas Osmeña, to enter into a contract of lease on behalf of the city with the Children of Cebu Foundation, Inc.,represented by Margarita as the chairperson.

“That for and in consideration of the sum of P1 per year and for the benefit of the street children of Cebu City, which is the essence of [CCFI’s] obligation and purpose of existence which further, the [city government] is only too conscious and deeply, concerned in, the [city government] hereby voluntarily, freely transfers and conveys by way of lease unto [CCFI]…,” read a copy of the contract obtained by Rama.

The city-owned 1,358-square-meter lot in Barangay Parian was leased to the foundation for the property to be used as a drop-in center for street children. At present, the facility caters to a maximum of 50 children (three to 17 years old for females and until 12 years old for males).

According to the two-page contract, the lease will run for 50 years and is renewable for a period agreed by both parties.

There is nothing invalid in the contract of lease since it was signed by an NGO represented by Margot, who did not sit as a public official, but as the chairperson of the foundation, Yu pointed out.

“As to the validity, for 50 years man ang contract, it does not mean nga invalid siya. Sa una, dili pa siya public official. Coincidence na lang nga na-city councilor na siya,” the lawyer said.  (FREEMAN)

ACIRC ATILDE BARANGAY PARIAN BOARD OF TRUSTEES CEBU CITY CHILDREN OF CEBU FOUNDATION CITY CONTRACT COUNCILOR MARGARITA OSME INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES-CEBU CITY CHAPTER MARGOT
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