Editorial: Not really ‘great victory’ yet-A A +A
Friday, June 29, 2012
A CEBU City Hall consultant was right in labeling a recent Court of Appeals move on the Rallos case a “great victory for Cebuanos.” That is, if this is taken in the context of the effort of the administration of Mayor Michael Rama to parry attempts of the heirs of Fr. Vicente Rallos to force the city to pay P133 million as ordered by the lower court.
But it is not “a great victory” if one considers that the CA has still to rule on the main case for the annulment of the judgment of the lower court, which ordered city hall to pay the Rallos heirs for using a Rallos property in Barangay Sambag 2 as road-right-of-way since 1963.
“The Rallos’ P133-million interest-on-interest claim against Cebu City is practically paralyzed by the issuance of this writ. Their devious claim is now virtually comatose, which we pray would never be resuscitated,” City Hall consultant Jade Ponce said.
But what if, in the end, the claim is resuscitated, like what one of the Rallos heirs believe? He is wallowing in the thought that if the CA eventually rules in their favor, the monthly interest and the total payment will also be jacked up.
Let it not be said, however, that the city has surrendered its position without valiantly fighting, which was not the case with former mayor and now south district Rep. Tomas Osmeña, whose administration initially paid the Rallos heirs a total of P56 million.
The CA decision to issue the writ of preliminary injunction that momentarily prevented the Rallos heirs from collecting the P133 million leans heavily on the 1940 convenio or contract that showed that the property in question was donated to the city. The convenio, whose authenticity the Rallos heirs questioned, was discovered last year through former city councilor Jocelyn Pesquera.
The legal battle is therefore the current city hall administration’s initiative, something that immediately became the target of Osmeña, who has positioned himself as Rama’s bitter critic. For Osmeña, refusing to pay the Rallos heirs would only increase the monthly interest and the amount that the city will eventually pay.
It is doubtful that, with the CA’s recent ruling, Osmeña would shift his position.
Still, on issues involving the interest of the city, politicking should not be introduced into the mix. Officials should be one in their stance and not battle each other, which only plays into the hands of those putting the city in a sorry state.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 30, 2012.