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Case vs 10 city dads over SB-1 dismissed

Ma. Fatima R. Secuya (The Freeman) - April 1, 2016 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Regional Trial Court dismissed yesterday the civil case for mandamus filed against 10 Cebu City Councilors over the inaction on the Supplemental Budget-1 last year.

The legal counsel of the 10 councilors, lawyer Amando Virgil Ligutan, said that the case filed by former Cebu City councilor Joey Daluz III is already “dead” to them.

He said RTC Branch 17 Judge Marivic Trabajo-Daray dismissed the case as no one from the party of the petitioner appeared for the pre-trial yesterday morning.

“The grounds used by the judge is the non-suit, non-suit is a provision in the rule of courts that is a dismissal of a case in the instance that the petitioner does not appear during pre-trial,” said Ligutan.

Ligutan said last month, both parties agreed to schedule the pre-trial hearing yesterday, saying even the petitioner was present during the agreement. Daluz’s legal counsels are lawyers Floro Casas, Mikel Rama and Jasper Pelayo.

“So it is really unacceptable for them not to appear in the pre-trial,” said Ligutan.

Daluz earlier filed the mandamus petition against Cebu City Councilors Nestor Archival, Sr., Lea Japson, Mary Ann de Los Santos, Sisinio Andales, Alvin Arcilla, Roberto Cabarrubias, Ma. Nida Cabrera, Alvin Dizon, Eugenio Gabuya, Jr., and Margarita Osmeña, all members of the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan party of former mayor Tomas Osmeña.

Ligutan said that prior the scheduled pre-trial, Daluz’s party filed a motion for postponement of the hearing since the lead counsel, Casas, is in Manila for an “equally important business.”

However, Ligutan said they pointed out to the judge that only Casas was excused but not the two others or the petitioner.

“The pre-trial is one of the more important and crucial procedures in the litigation in the court that includes the conduct and the presence of the parties in the pre-trial. If and when the petitioner does not appear during the pre-trial, that matter calls for immediate dismissal,” said Ligutan.

He also said that according to the law, dismissal of the case on the ground of non-suit is also with “prejudice” which means the case could not be raised again.

“So the case is dead on our end,” he said.

Ligutan also said the dismissal of the case before the RTC is a “good development” for them since they can also use their counter-affidavits for the case filed by Daluz in another similar case filed by a certain Evelyn Montes, which is pending before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Ligutan said these cases filed against the BOPK city councilors are “politically motivated” considering that it is within the election season.

He also said there is already no point in pushing through with the deliberation of the SB-1 for 2015 since it is already 2016.

In a separate interview with Daluz, he also said he will not be filing a motion for reconsideration since the case he filed already has “no life to stand on” considering that it is already 2016 and it has become “moot and academic”.

He also admitted that his filing of the case was a political statement rather than a legal one so that the council would immediately act on the SB-1 to pay for the SRP loan. Daluz also lamented that the court was slow in resolving the case.

On the other hand, Casas, who was in Manila yesterday, was surprised to know that the case was dismissed since he filed a motion for postponement.

He said he will have to talk to Daluz first, but in his opinion, they should be filing a motion for reconsideration before the RTC.

“Kay diba, ang admin case man gudana. Di bagihataganog support sa Ombudsman? Kay gi-support saOmbusdsam, civil case will have to proceed,” said Casas. (FREEMAN)

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