SC clears 6 Cebu justices of charges

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Thursday, January 9, 2014


THE Supreme Court (SC) has junked the administrative charges against six Court of Appeals (CA) Cebu Station justices over the issuance of a preliminary injunction that barred the release of P133 million to the Rallos heirs.

In dismissing the complaints, the SC en banc ruled that the justices were right in protecting the release of public funds.

“Otherwise, the Rallos heirs would unduly enrich themselves at the expense of Cebu City and essentially swindle it of its assets,” read the SC decision.

Cleared of charges were Justices Ramon Paul Hernando, Victoria Isabel Paredes, Gabriel Ingles, Pamela Ann Maxino, Carmelita Manahan and Pampio Abarintos.

Lucina Rallos, one of the heirs of the late Fr. Vicente Rallos, had sued the justices for issuing a preliminary injunction that stopped the release of P133 million to the family, as compensation for a property that is used as a barangay road by the Cebu City Government.

In her petition, Rallos said the issuance of preliminary injunction by the CA justices was “an improper conduct, tending directly or indirectly, to impede, obstruct or degrade the administration of justice.”

The filing of the case stemmed from the issuance of a preliminary injunction by the appellate court on June 26, which prevented the release of P133 million to the Rallos heirs.

The order also bars the sale, through public auction, of a 9.7-hectare parcel of land within the South Road Properties, which the Ralloses were eyeing as payment.

The injunction was issued after the City filed the petition for annulment of judgment with a prayer for a temporary restraining order in a bid to stop the release of a P133-million award to the Rallos heirs.

In the decision, the high court pointed out that administrative complaints are not proper remedies to attack alleged erroneous resolutions of the justices.

“Indeed, any errors should be corrected through appropriate judicial remedies, like appeal in due course or, in the proper cases, the extraordinary writs of certiorari and prohibition if the errors were jurisdictional,” the high tribunal said.

More importantly, the high court said the Rallos case involves public funds, which are to be used in the delivery of basic services to constituents of the Cebu City.

“There is the need to protect government funds, for which the City of Cebu is accountable, and this should not be jeopardized through the supposed violation by the city government of petitioner’s right to enjoy the fruits of the final judgment in her favor,” the SC said.

Pending determination on the ownership of the property, the high court said there is a need to prevent the release of public funds or sale of the City’s properties.

The SC also directed the concerned justices to voluntarily inhibit from the Rallos case.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 09, 2014.

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