Appellate court issues TRO allowing Toledo City Gov’t to release funds

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Thursday, May 29, 2014


THE Court of Appeals (CA) yesterday issued a 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop the implementation of the writ of preliminary injunction on Toledo City’s 2014 annual budget.

It also allowed the implementation of the City’s budget ordinance.

Earlier, Toledo City Mayor John Henry Osmeña filed a petition for certiorari with special prayer for status quo ante order, TRO and preliminary injunction before the CA to nullify the RTC’s decision on the budget.

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Six councilors filed the petition for preliminary injunction before the RTC since there was a lack of quorum when the budget ordinance was passed.

RTC Branch 59 issued the writ of preliminary injunction last May 14.

Since the City could not use funds after the preliminary injunction was issued, it could not pay its electricity bills and power at the City Hall was cut off last Monday. It could not buy fuel for its garbage trucks so garbage has been piling up in the city. And City Hall employees have not received their salary.

After he received a copy of the CA resolution, Osmeña said he ordered the city treasurer to process the employees’ salaries.

He also asked the Cebu Electric Cooperative to restore power at City Hall.

He assured city employees they will have regular power today.

“Indeed, this Court believes and so holds that grave and irreparable damage will result if the acts of public respondent will not be temporarily restrained,” a part of the resolution read.

The hearing on Osmeña’s application for the issuance of writ of preliminary injunction will be on June 11.

Before the resolution was issued yesterday afternoon, the six councilors of the opposition held a press conference in the morning.

They are Ricardo Pepito, Antonio Borja Jr., Rogelio Caburnay, Louis Nicholas Espinosa, Helen Jill Espinosa and Edgardo Aguilar.

Pepito said a reenacted budget must be used to pay the bills, salaries of the employees and basic services because the 2014 budget was illegally passed.

He cited Section 323 of Republic Act (RA) 7160, also known as the Local Government Code, which states that should the City Council fail to pass an ordinance at the beginning of the year, last year’s budget should be reenacted.

“The proposed 2014 budget was passed illegally so it is not deemed approved. It is null and void. Therefore, the 2013 budget, as provided in Section 323 of RA 7160, is still in effect,” Pepito said in his press statement.

In a text message, Pepito said they have yet to read the CA decision, but they will respect it.

City Legal Officer Glenn Cavada said they can’t go back to a reenacted budget since they’ve started using the 2014 budget.

He said funding for salaries for periods March 16 to 30 and April 1 to 15 came from this year’s budget.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 30, 2014.

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