The employees of the Cebu Public Highways and the Cebu provincial government

CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal (The Freeman) - January 19, 2016 - 9:00am

Employees of the then Cebu Public Highways who had been out of work since July 1, 1968 finally entered into a compromise agreement with the government in 1979.

The legal battle took a decade to be finally resolved, not with the court declaring who was correct or wrong but by themselves entering into a compromise agreement. On the government side of the Cebu Province, it was represented by former Governors Rene G. Espina, Dr. Osmundo G. Rama (who was the vice governor of Espina before the latter ran as senator in 1969), former Provincial Board Members Pablo P. Garcia, Valeriano Carillo, and Reynaldo M. Mendiola, who were sued in their official capacities, have long ceased to hold office, and Governor Eduardo Rivera Gullas (who became a lawyer on March 8, 1957, his father Don Vicente was also a lawyer so was his uncle Paulino who founded the newspaper The Freeman), was the incumbent Governor of Cebu then.

The Compromise Agreement was submitted to the Supreme Court on June 14, 1979. Governor Eduardo Gullas made ways to end the legal battle by convincing the parties to enter into a compromise agreement as it resulted to the deplorable conditions of some roads and bridges in the Province of Cebu and the sad plight of the employees.

The employees were Buenaventura Bragas, Cresencio Canete, Andres Canete, Teofilo Cacanog, Placido Cuizon, Cerilo Donayre, Camia Hermosa, Virginio Lavelles, Juan Maghanoy, Lucio Maramara, Brigido Nemil, Francisco Noval, Iluminado Ortiz, Cesar Panares, Lucas Paradiang, Jesus Pepito Carlos Quinapondan, Eutiquio Racaza, Rosario Sen, Ricardo Tagalog, and Aurelio Zabala.

The Compromise Agreement said that Cebu province would immediately appropriate and pay full back wages and salaries awarded by the trial court (presided by Judge Francisco P. Burgos of the Court of First Instance of Cebu) from and after July 1, 1968 up to the time of the approval of the agreement (it was submitted to the Supreme Court on June 14, 1979), except for those who were already qualified for retirement.

Cebu province also agreed that the employees qualified for compulsory retirement, the former shall appropriate and pay the government share of the GSIS retirement.

Majority of the employees were represented by Atty. Ramon B. Ceniza, who later was elected Member of the Provincial Board of Cebu and served honorably for decades. Cebu province during the time of Governor Gullas was represented by Atty. Justino K. Hermosisima from Sibonga, Cebu. He was admitted to the Bar on January 26, 1961.

The Compromise Agreement first had a road blocked when one of the counsels of the employees, Raul H. Sesbreno (of San Francisco, Camotes became a lawyer on March 17, 1966) initially opposed its approval. Fortunately on October 31, 1979 he withdrew his objections. The Compromise Agreement was finally approved by the Supreme Court on December 18, 1979.

Atty. Pablo Garcia, during the incumbency of Gov. Rene Espina, was one of the members of the Provincial Board. He was born on September 25, 1925. Pablo was the son of Don Vicente Garcia and Josefa Paras of Barili. Vicente was the son of Antonio, a son of Don Pablo, a Spaniard from Ciudad Real, Spain who settled in Dumanjug, Cebu.

Pablo P. Garcia brought honor to Cebu when after graduating Bachelor of Laws at the University of San Carlos placed 3rd in the 1951 Bar Examinations. Pablo fondly called as Pabling was admitted to the Bar on January 25, 1952. In 1987, Pablo was elected congressman of the 3rd Congressional District of Cebu and served until 1995. Pabling was then elected governor of Cebu in 1995. When his term ended, his daughter Gwendolyn Fiel Garcia succeeded him. In 2007, Noy Pabling came back to Congress, this time as representative of the 2ndDistrict of Cebu.

Jesus, the elder brother of Noy Pabling, also became an accomplished lawyer (admitted to the Bar on November 4, 1946). Jesus was elected Delegate of the 1971 Constitutional Convention. Jesus married Severiana Biano, his sons became lawyers, a namesake, Jesus Jr. became a lawyer on March 13, 1969 and became Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications. The other son by the name of Alvin (became a lawyer on March 10, 1971) was elected Vice Mayor of Cebu City in 1987 and Cebu City Mayor in 1995 up to 2001.

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