Rama ‘elated’ over SC ruling on City’s case vs. Ralloses-A A +A
Saturday, February 1, 2014
CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama welcomed the recent Supreme Court decision favoring the City’s stand against the release of P133 million in public funds to the Rallos heirs.
City Legal Office chief Gerone Castillo said Rama was elated because the mayor has vowed to protect the public funds.
He said the City is also determined to inform the court on the real ownership of the contested property.
Castillo said the High Court did not order the six Court of Appeals Cebu Station justices to inhibit from the Rallos case.
What the High Court ruling really meant is that justices and judges are directed to inform within five days both parties of their mandatory disqualification or voluntary inhibition from the case, Castillo said.
The high tribunal has junked “for lack of merit and substance” the administrative charges against the six 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 and Carmelita Manahan and Pampio Abarintos.
Lucina Rallos, one of the heirs of the late Fr. Vicente Rallos, 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.
Rallos said the issuance of a preliminary injunction by the justices was “an improper conduct, tending directly or indirectly, to impede, obstruct or degrade the administration of justice.”
The preliminary injunction issued by the appellate court on June 26, 2013 prevents the release of P133 million to the Rallos heirs.
It 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 the award to the Rallos heirs.
In the decision, the High Court pointed out that administrative complaints are not proper remedies to attack allegedly erroneous resolutions of the justices.
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.
Unless it rules on who truly owns the property, the High Court said there is a need to prevent the release of public funds or sale of the City-owned properties.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 02, 2014.