James Giam’s cry for compassion

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By Dr. Bob Ocio

Isyo ug Servicio

Thursday, March 27, 2014


"For failure of justice is worse than the crime committed itself."

I WAS a city councilor when a city ordinance was proposed by the Executive department under former Mayor Vicente Emano, was endorsed to the city council for approval. It proposed an appropriation of a sum of millions to construct a terminal in Gusa in Giam’s property to decongest traffic by restricting some public utility vehicles to enter further into the city. Naturally, in exchange for the deal, Giam was also making business out of the remainder of the property which was not included in the dead of donation.

Out of the blue, and years later, Emano suddenly transferred the terminal in Gusa back to the Agora Market which was now reconstructed and in fact converted into a mini mall which deprived the previous vendors, the access to the expensive new rentals which the management has charged.

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Naturally too, Giam filed his case in Court asking that his property be returned to him because city hall violated the specifications of the deed of donation which the Council authorized for and in behalf of the City government. Giam won his case and a Motion for Reconsideration filed by the city was denied.

Giam then asked the new city mayor not to proceed with another legal action citing a terrible physical, emotional and financial suffering he underwent through the process of litigation and injustice which he underwent out of the breach of the contract.

He specifically mentioned untold sleepless nights, a foot amputation and a heart procedure at St. Luke’s resulting from the stress and suffering he underwent in the process. He cited further adverse health and financial drain if the case is pursued by the City citing a brink of a condition of self pity under a predicament of a family getting the toll from rising financial woes and debts.

City hall was reportedly appealing on the case against Giam.

Giam is a reflection of every businessman in this city.

Certainly, Giam's case is not a good indicator on the way we need to attract investments in our city or the way we treat legitimate businessmen. My heart bleeds for the man. He is a reflection of every businessman large or small and the way how we treat them in this city; or how they may have been unfairly left out of the inconsistency and changes of policies to favor a few. I wonder if Emano even bothered to seek a new legislation to cancel the contract between City hall and Mr. Giam in a matter which protected city hall's investment on the terminal and the interests of the lot owner. Giam may yet win this case but not after he may have been too weak to enjoy whatever is left to rebuild his business. City hall must have been too stupid and arrogant so as not to account its investments on the property which is paid for by the people in transferring the terminal outright back to the Agora market.

There are limits to what we can call legal. There is no limit to what we can call moral justice and humane responsibility. The Moreno government must seek a compromise with Giam. Can it revert the scene back to the old ordinance and pay Giam for the damages? What would be satisfactory for both parties which would address the interests of Mr. Giam and the people of Cagayan de Oro? I pray for a scenario where we can end at the soonest possible time a very expensive and agonizing litigation which will only amount to nothing if it happens too late for the man to be vindicated of his just redress to an injustice which is clearly committed.

Justice therefore for James Giam and any other man suffering the same cruelty and unfair treatment in this City is an unfinished business. We cannot afford to delay it. “For justice delayed, is justice denied.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 27, 2014.

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