Labella to take blame for SB-1 “approval”
May B. Miasco/JMO (The Freeman) - December 22, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu City acting mayor Edgardo Labella will take responsibility if the city loses in the case that questioned its decision to use the money it earned from the sale of lots at the South Road Properties (SRP).

“If it is the apprehension of the majority members of the [City Council] that they could be held liable in case Romulo Torres eventually wins his case, I am willing to sign an undertaking and perhaps the other members in the [City Council] who would vote in the affirmative that we should be the only ones to be held liable thereof and spare those who voted in the negative thereon,” reads Labella’s December 22 letter to the Council.

He asked that the council call and schedule a special session to act on the Supplemental Budget 1 the executive department has proposed.

The executive department wants to use the money from the SRP sale to fund SB-1 but majority of the city councilors have since opposed it owing the case Torres filed.   Identified as a “vital item” in SB-1 is the pre-termination and payment of the city’s loan for the development of the SRP itself.

The Regional Trial Court has dismissed Torres’ case but is still resolving the motion for reconsideration he filed.   Labella said he is confident the RTC will stand by its decision but because some councilors remain apprehensive, he is willing to spare them from possible liability.

“We cannot operate on an atmosphere of fear. We have to be ready to face risks and that is life what is all about. What is important is that we are guided by the principle of what is the best interest and the principle of good faith,” he said.

He urged the council to set a special session to “expeditiously act on SB-1 not later than the last working day of this year, December 29 (Tuesday).”

“I feel that it is my responsibility being the acting mayor to remind the council of such mandate explicitly and categorically spelled out under the Local Government Code,” he said in a press conference yesterday.

“There is a mandate for the City Council to deliberate on the budget whether to approve, disapprove or slash certain items of it… how can the government meet its financial requirements if there is no such appropriation ordinance or budget ordinance?” Labella said.

He said the Council can be held legally liable if it continues to put on hold any action on the proposed SB-1.  — (FREEMAN)

ACIRC CEBU CITY CITY CITY COUNCIL COUNCIL EDGARDO LABELLA LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT ROMULO TORRES SOUTH ROAD PROPERTIES SUPPLEMENTAL BUDGET
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