Council’s plan on Rallos case-A A +A
Saturday, December 3, 2011
I DON'T understand why Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young and some city councilors are prioritizing payment for the Rallos property instead of appropriating funds for priority projects. The Supreme Court has awarded to the heirs of Fr. Vicente Rallos a sum of P133 million for the parcel of land the city government expropriated as barangay road in Sambag 1.
Young plans to insert the P133 million in the 2012 budget supposedly because he is afraid of going to jail if City Hall defies the court order. He also fears that the amount will balloon because of interest payments.
The original price of the lot was only P33 million but it increased to P133 million after years of litigation because of the interest imposed. The city had paid P50 million to the Ralloses during the administration of then mayor Tomas Osmeña.
Don't worry Joy. Your fear is more of a fiction than reality. Mike will go to jail first before you and your cohorts in the council will. Kun mapriso ka, bisitahon lang unya tika.
Two sessions ago, Councilor Noel Wenceslao sponsored a resolution appropriating P133 million to pay the Ralloses. But he withdrew it after Councilor Edgardo Labella, a lawyer, insisted that the city might be placed in an awkward position if it appropriates the amount. This is because Mayor Mike Rama and City Hall lawyers are still doing a last-ditch legal maneuver questioning the court's decision.
Sources said that after that session, south district Rep. Tomas Osmeña called a caucus attended by Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) councilors and pressured them to pass the resolution. See? We can therefore conclude that Tomas is behind the eagerness of Young and some city councilor to pay the Ralloses.
So what are Tomas’s intentions? Personal and political again. He wants Mike to look bad before the public once the city loses the P133 million in exchange for nothing.
I said “nothing” because the city government can no longer use that property because it is occupied by squatters. Maayo pay Balili property sa Naga nga gipalit sa Kapitolyo og P100 million kay naa pay tubig makita ug puwede pang buhian og tilapia.
In media interviews, Young keeps on saying that the city has no money, that is why the council cannot approve the P11.8 billion annual budget submitted by the executive department. The estimated revenue of the city for next year is only P5 billion. Thus, the council will scrap non-priority items in the budget.
But is the Rallos payment a priority? For me it is not, as the court still needs to resolve a pending motion in court. It is not yet considered a statutory obligation for the city government.
The city is invoking a Commission on Audit (COA) ruling that cites jurisprudence that any court order on garnishment should be coursed through the COA. The city should only appropriate the amount if everything has been legally resolved. Nganong magdali man gyud mo diha?
Sources say that the Ralloses had approached moneyed people to financially back them up because they cannot afford a protracted legal battle. The condition was that they would get a share of the money once they win the case.
One of these alleged financiers is an illegal numbers game operator. This guy is the one egging on some city councilors to appropriate funds to pay the Ralloses. The source added that this financier promised some councilors that they will receive a “bonus” once the Ralloses collects the funds. Pastilan, morag sindikato diay ni.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 03, 2011.