‘Resolution violates ordinance’: Council sued over SRP deal

Mylen P. Manto, Jean Marvette A. Demecillo (The Freeman) - September 18, 2015 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines - A resident of Barangay Basak San Nicolas, Cebu City has filed a case against the City Council, asking the court to stop the city government from using the proceeds from the sale of lots at the South Road Properties.

The complainant, Romulo Torres, said the resolution the City Council passed that authorized Vice Mayor Michael Rama to dispose of a 45.2-hectare property at the SRP violated City Ordinance 2332, “An Ordinance protecting the South Road Properties and its Stakeholders from Unlawful and Unauthorized Transactions and Dealings.”

Because of this, Torres said Cebu City Resolution No. 13-0418-2014 is null and void.

“It is the intention of the framers of Ordinance 2332 to promote investments and sustainable undertakings as would actively generate income from the SRP and particularly excluded the sale or disposition of properties in SRP through public auction,” Torres’ complaint reads.

Torres said the city should not be allowed to use the P8.35 billion it received from SM Prime Holdings, Inc., Ayala Lands, Inc., and Filinvest Lands, Inc. until such time that the court decides if the manner by which the lots were disposed of – in this case, through a public bidding – was valid. .

The P8.35 billion is equivalent to 50 percent of the amount for the lots purchased.

Torres said Resolution 130418-2014 did not and could not have amended nor superseded Ordinance 2332 because the rule is that a resolution cannot and/or supersede an ordinance as provided for by Article 7 of the Civil Code of the Philippines.

Torres filed the case against Vice Mayor Edgar Labella and Councilors Nestor Archival Sr., Margarita Osmeña, Lea Japson, Eugenio Gabuya Jr., Mary Ann de los Santos, David Tumulak, Nendell Hanz Abella, Sisinio Andales, Alvin Arcilla, Roberto Cabarrubias, Ma. Nida Cabrera, Gerardo Carillo, James Anthony Cuenco, Alvin Dizon, Richard Osmeña, Noel Eleuterio Wenceslao and Philip Zapra.


At City Hall, City Attorney Jerone Castillo questioned the motive of the case.

“It will be dismissed. Who is he? Why is he asking?... That has already been done. That has been rendered academic already. We received the money already. It is already part of the budget. Ngano karon ra?” Castillo said.

He said the city government will face the complaint in court.

“We will face them in court but it cannot stop anything. You cannot stop a government action by mere declaratory relief. You cannot secure an injunction there because you already have a budget passed and endorsed. It is already acted upon by the City Council. In fact, there was already no discussion as to the source of fund only the expenditures na,” he said.

For his part, Labella, the council’s presiding officer, said yesterday he has yet to receive a copy of the complaint.

Wenceslao, the author of the ordinance in question, urged Torres to read and understand the ordinance first and pointed out that the move is politically motivated.

“Ang intention is whether the sale will be negotiated, for public bidding, unsolicited proposal, kinahanglan naay prior approval from the City Council. Unya ang executive department was able to comply through the resolution. Ngano libog-libogon man? Simple ra man na nga ordinance… politika ra gihapon na,” he said.

Meanwhile, Andales believes the complaint is a “welcome development.”

“I do believe it’s a welcome development. It is one way of settling the issue. There is really a valid sale based on resolution, not based on the ordinance. Wherein there should be unsolicited proposal. Once and for all, it should be settled. Kay despite the opinion sa DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government), the Office of the Mayor continued the public bidding,” he said.

During one of the council’s regular sessions, Andales floated the idea that a taxpayer could file a complaint against the city for pursuing the sale of the SRP, claiming that it is against the ordinance.

Andales, though, said he does not know Torres.

“I don’t know the guy. Anybody can file as long as he’s a taxpayer. He’s entitled to that. Anybody can question the ordinance, resolution,” Andales said.

Basak San Nicolas Barangay Captain Norman Navarro said he does not know Torres.

“Wala ko kaila. Ako nang ipa-check kun kinsa siya,” he said./JMO  (FREEMAN)

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