Pre-trial set today: City eyes compromise agreement with ACT
Jean Marvette A. Demecillo/NSA (The Freeman) - December 9, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The possibility of a compromise would be raised today during the pre-trial hearing on the declaratory relief sought by the Cebu City government from the Asian College of Technology and/or Asian College of Technology International Educational Foundation, Inc.

 “The city government is willing to enter into a Compromise Agreement with the Defendants (ACT/ACTIEF) under terms and conditions that are just and equitable,” the pre-trial brief of the city government read.

On October 16, the city government received an order from the Regional Trial Court-7 Branch 5 dated August 27 setting the case for pre-trial today, December 10.

The city earlier asked the court to determine if it can still pay for the school fees of its scholars enrolled at the ACT and/or ACTIEF, this, after the Office of the Ombudsman found conflict of interest in the arrangement between the city and the school since the owner, Representative Rodrigo Abellanosa, also sat as councilor of the city at the time the Memorandum of Agreement was signed.

According to the Ombudsman, Abellanosa was holding dual positions and allegedly committed grave misconduct.

Lawyer Jerone Castillo, the city’s lead counsel, said in the pre-trial brief that admissions of facts in the petition will also be discussed.

Proposed admissions for the city government’s part are: would the ACT and/or ACTIEF admit that it entered a MOA dated June 24, 2010 with the City of Cebu and Department of Education?; would the ACT/ACTIEF admit that it entered a MOA dated August 5,2011 with the city and DepEd?; would the ACT/ACTIEF admit that Abellanosa was its president and a member of its Board of Trustees in 2010 and 2011?; would the ACT/ACTIEF admit that the Office of the Ombudsman found Abellanosa guilty of grave misconduct in a decision dated May 16, 2014?; and would the ACT/ACTIEF admit that the Ombudsman found Abellanosa criminally liable for Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act in a resolution dated May 16, 2014?

The city government wants to know from the court if it is allowed by law to pay for the school fees of the city scholars enrolled in the said school pursuant to the MOA considering that Abellanosa was found guilty of grave misconduct.

Further, the city asked the court if the suspension of payment is warranted until the criminal action against Abellanosa for anti-graft is terminated pursuant to the ruling of the Court in Republic of the Philippines vs. Court of Appeals (G.R. No. 116463, June 10, 2003).

The city owes at least P135 million to ACT for the school fees of its scholars enrolled in the school.

If the complaint elevates to court, Mayor Michael Rama will testify on the material allegations in his verified civil case.

In the pre-trial brief, the city manifested that it will reserve the right to present additional testimonial and documentary evidence as the need may arise. — (FREEMAN)

ABELLANOSA ACT ACTIEF ANTI-GRAFT AND CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT ASIAN COLLEGE OF TECHNOLOGY ASIAN COLLEGE OF TECHNOLOGY INTERNATIONAL EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION BOARD OF TRUSTEES CEBU CITY CITY CITY OF CEBU AND DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN
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