Rallos heir: the ‘war’ continues-A A +A
Thursday, September 5, 2013
A CEBU regional trial court judge has lifted the levy on a bank account of the city and on a portion of the South Road Properties (SRP) being developed by Filinvest. The levy was issued to guarantee satisfaction of the money judgment against the city government in the now-famous Rallos case.
News of the court action was met with jubilation from City Hall and for good reason.
It freed up more than a hundred million pesos that had been frozen by the Philippine Postal Bank in compliance with the levy. It also removed whatever legal obstacle to the collection from Filinvest of the purchase price for the SRP lot.
But while the city was exulting, an heir to the Fr. Vicente Rallos estate put a dampener to the celebration. You only won a battle, he said in effect. The war is still ongoing.
Indeed, it is. The decision of the Cebu RTC did not change the fact that there exists a final and executory judgment against the city in favor of the Rallos heirs. The amount of the liability used to be only P133 million. The Ralloses’ latest computation showed that the debt has ballooned to P166 million because of interest.
And it is growing.
Former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña has raised this argument when he insisted that Mayor Mike Rama should negotiate with the Ralloses: there is a final judgment that says the city is liable and, by its terms, the amount gets bigger everyday because of interest.
But Rama is adamant that the city does not owe the Ralloses anything, the court judgment notwithstanding. The convenio makes it so, said the mayor, who is a lawyer.
He was referring to a document that the city “discovered” long after the final nail was driven on the coffin of the city’s defense by the Supreme Court. They had filed a case in the Court of Appeals, hoping to undo what the High Tribunal had commanded. Can it be done?
We can only trust that Rama and his legal advisers know what they are doing. The fallout could be enormous if, God forbid, the court rules against them. It could mean millions of pesos lost to interest, money that could have found better use in building footpaths, school buildings and bridges or in simply filling up the road potholes that are growing in number and in size in many sections of the city.
City officials celebrated the lifting of the levy by attending mass. If they win the main case by having the Supreme Court reverse itself (I expect the CA decision to be elevated to the SC by whoever is aggrieved by it), I would like to witness a grander celebration, one where you hear church bells ringing all over the city in joyous exultation. Otherwise…
There is going to be a rally against the pork barrel on September 11 and our own archbishop, Jose Palma, who is the outgoing president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines has thrown his support behind it.
I do not know if this one is going to be nationwide like the August 26 Million People March but I am sure one will be held each in Manila and in Cebu. I also know that the netizens who were active in the first mass action against the PDAF abuse are keeping away from the September 11 event. Peachy Bretana said so in Manila. Dr. Rowena Burden made the same announcement in Cebu.
Then it is the time for those who cried that the August 26 gathering was hijacked by pro-PNoy personalities to shine. With Palma’s support, they should be able to gather enough people at the rally venue. And they can say anything they want. It’s their rally.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 06, 2013.