THE Cebu City Government yesterday asked the court to dismiss the civil petition that the Asian College of Technology International Education Foundation Inc. (ACTIEF) filed seeking to compel Mayor Michael Rama to pay the school about P136.92 million in scholars’ tuition.

City Legal Officer Jerone Castillo told Regional Trial Court Judge Alexander Acosta to drop the school’s petition for mandamus citing the failure of the petitioners to state in their certificate of non-forum shopping that no petition was filed in court over similar issue.

“It is incumbent upon the petitioner, under the Revised Rules of Court, to inform the court that there is already a pending case, especially that the issues are substantially the same,” said Castillo.

The city lawyer was referring to the civil petition for declaratory relief filed by the Cebu City Government against Asian College of Technology (ACT) and/or ACTIEF and the Department of Education-Division of Cebu City last month.

Acosta, the Regional Trial Court Branch 9 presiding judge, yesterday tackled the civil case for mandamus filed by ACTIEF accusing Rama of “unlawfully discriminating” against the school in the City’s scholarship program.

The school received the summon last May 26, 2015.

On May 29, ACTIEF filed a civil suit for mandamus and asked for a temporary restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction against Rama.

During the hearing yesterday, Castillo argued that ACTIEF and the five other petitioners violated the provision of the Rules of Court when they failed to state in their non-forum shopping certificate that a similar case was filed in court.

“It is fundamental in our jurisdiction that when there is a pending similar case, the case may be summarily moved for the dismissal. Nowhere in the verification is that similar case pending in court,” said Castillo.

Castillo also argued that the petitioners failed to implead an indispensable party, or an individual who has an interest in the substantive issue of a legal action.

But school lawyer Pelagio Lawrence Cuison denied that the petitioners violated the forum shopping rule since the petition for mandamus they filed against Rama is not similar to the civil suit filed by the City Government against the school.

Cuison pointed out that not all the petitioners in the case they filed against the mayor are the same respondents in the petition that the City filed against the school.

He said the case pending before the ombudsman against Cebu City South District Rep. Rodrigo Abellanosa, former owner of ACTIEF, should not be used as a basis by the City to withhold the release of payment to school since the case has not yet resolved with finality.