Sunday , June 24, 2018

Appellate Court orders ‘blackhole’ re-trial

THE Court of Appeals has ordered the Regional Trial Court-Branch 63 of La Trinidad for a re-trial of the questionable blackhole project which has now ballooned to P58 million loaned by the municipality.

The appellate court in a 45 decision promulgated October 18, has remanded the regional trial court for a full blown trial on the case filed by the CBB Cooperation Foundation Inc. and Cooperative Bank of Benguet against La Trinidad for its failure to pay the loan used to acquire the blackhole project aimed to solve the garbage woes of the municipality under then mayor Greg Abalos.

It can be recalled in 2011, Abalos entered into an agreement and loaned P5 million on September 30, 2011 at the CBB Foundation while the P18 million came from the coop bank in two tranches: P7,500,000 given June 15 and P10,500,000 given May 23 for the down payments of the blackhole project in Alno which was seen to solve the worsening problem in the Valley.

The machine is a world renowned Japanese invented magnetic garbage decomposer using low temperature plasma to decompose garbage which employs the use gases of two special magnets making the air nanomized, generating both plasma and heat, it neither emits CO2 (carbon dioxidr) and toxic gases and can be used to process all sorts of toxic chemicals or radioactive waste.

The technology also does require segregation and has passed the Japan Industrial Standards Committee, it is also believed to help reduce global warming, the project was aimed to revolutionize waste disposal dubbed as the Zero Waste Management System (Super Black Hole Project).

The project was considered as a dismal failure and was totally abandoned in 2013.

Two separate complaints were filed against the municipality for specific performance and damages filed by CBB Cooperation Foundation Inc. and Cooperative Bank of Benguet urging the municipality to pay its debt of P23 million which now grew to P58 million including interest which was earlier ruled by the lower courts to be rightfully shouldered by the town.

Under former Mayor Edna Tabanda who succeeded Abalos, the municipality has filed a motion for reconsideration for the decision of Regional Trial Court branch 63 for two civil cases for the sum of money and damages filed by CBB against the municipality.

The appeal was granted in part by the Sixth Division of Court of Appeals received last week, November 6, by the municipality stating: “While this Court commiserates with appellees pertaining to the alleged overdue loans they extended to the Municipality of La Trinidad, Benguet, justice dictates that the State and all parties concerned be given the chance to present their respective positions. Speedy disposition of cases is admirable, but the same should not come at the expense of true justice.”

Municipal Administrator Lawyer Miller Quintin said the recent decision by COA anchored its decisions by the defenses of the Sangguniang Bayan raised before in the time of Abalos and the municipality was never given a chance to present evidence in a trial because there was no trial.

Mayor Romeo Salda said they will be waiting for the court to summon the municipality.

Salda said the machine was never used when the municipality got hold of the equipment.

The mayor also questioned the process on releasing the amount which transpired only between CBB and the former mayor.

“Why did the coop bank release the money to the mayor. The municipality treasurer should have received the money to issue the official receipt of the municipality,” added Salda.