Petition junked: Samar court lifts TRO vs P800M provincial loan
Rommel L. Rutor (The Freeman) - January 6, 2016 - 9:00am

CATBALOGAN CITY, Philippines – The Regional Trial Court in this city on Monday lifted the 20-day temporary restraining order and dismissed all other petitions against the P800-million borrowing ordinance approved earlier by the Samar Provincial Board.

`RTC-branch 29 Judge Agerico Avila, in his order, said the TRO obtained last December by petitioner PB Member Alma Uy had to be lifted because from her witness, “there appears no irregularity in the passage of the joint committee reports, the resolutions oft-mentioned and the ordinance assailed.”

The court cited that the alleged existence of two contradictory committee reports—one that recommended a loan with the DBP and the other with the LBP—holds no water. “These reports were designed to guide the August Body in their legislative work. They can be considered or rejected.” the decision said.

The court order, a copy of which was obtained by The Freeman, stated further: “The existence of two borrowing ordinances proved ineluctably untrue since only the authority of the Governor to borrow from LBP was enacted”, while the “deliberation of the SP (PB) of Samar indicated that the members weighed the advantages offered by the LBP.”

Judge Avila also noted that the questioned insertion of the joint committee report in the agenda of the Samar PB’s October 22 session, “was quite regular and not in any way prohibited by the internal rules of procedure adopted by the SP (PB) of Samar.”

Avila, in his penned decision, said the province of Samar is capable of paying the loan to be contracted not only because of its Internal Revenue Allotment allocation but will only expend the 20 percent of its development fund to pay for the installments.

“All the infra-structure programs were included and consistent with the Annual Investment Plan of the province, elsewhere stated, the budget for other social services will not be affected,” the court further said.

Avila then cited that the economic benefit that the infra-structure projects will produce to the province is a policy decision that cannot be estimated by the most accurate feasibility studies.

“Similarly, situated are the constructions of school buildings, bridges, health centers, wharves and the like, no matter how feasible they are, same are still subject to destruction from typhoon, fire, earthquake, landslides and similar calamities are all speculative,” the judge said.

From these findings, the RTC resolved to dissolve the TRO it issued on December 14, 2015, preventing the implementation of PB Ordinance No. 14-062-15 by Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan, and further dismiss other petitions.

As such, the RTC said there was insufficiency of factual and legal basis of the cause of action on record, and failure to show by clear and convincing evidence that there were irregularities in the passage of the resolutions adverted to and the borrowing ordinance oft-mentioned, so as to overcome the presumption of regularity.

As this developed, petitioner Uy posted in the internet a statement saying the court’s decision to dismiss her Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition was quite premature, and with indecent and suspicious haste.

“The hearing for the main case is set on January 6, 2016, and there was no presentation of evidence yet, and here comes a dismissal order?” Uy said, as she vowed to file a motion for reconsideration in the coming days, possibly with a motion for inhibition of Judge Avila. (FREEMAN)

ACIRC ANNUAL INVESTMENT PLAN AUGUST BODY AVILA CERTIORARI AND PROHIBITION INTERNAL REVENUE ALLOTMENT JUDGE AGERICO AVILA JUDGE AVILA MEMBER ALMA UY ORDINANCE NO SAMAR
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