THE Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has denied the motion to defer the proceedings filed by Cebu City’s legal office on the complaint against Mayor Michael Rama and other City officials over a distribution of calamity assistance.

As the preliminary conference resumed yesterday, lawyer Isidro Barrios denied the motion filed by the respondents. This means the investigation will proceed.

Barrios is the new hearing officer appointed by DILG to handle the matter after the previous hearing officer inhibited himself from the case.

In their motion, lawyers of the respondents questioned DILG and the Office of the President for handling the case, saying they have no jurisdiction over it.

“Since there is a collateral attack on a valid ordinance, a higher court should resolve the case,” City Legal Officer Jerone Castillo said.

The case, which was filed by lawyer Reymelio Delute, stemmed from the distribution of P20,000 calamity assistance in 2013 following a 7.2 magnitude earthquake and a super typhoon in the Visayas.

The distribution was supported by a resolution and an ordinance appropriating the funds.

Pending

Castillo said legal proceedings over the case should not proceed pending the petition for certiorari and the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction they filed before the Court of Appeals.

Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, who is among the respondents’ counsels, said judicial courtesy should be observed.

“Since there is a pending petition for review, the legal proceedings should not continue,” he said.

Labella also raised a judicial question on the personalities that are part of the hearing committee aside from Barrios.

Rule 1, Section 3 of the Administrative Order 23 states that “the secretary of the DILG is designated as the investigating authority. He may constitute an investigating committee in the DILG for the purpose”.

Lawyer Benjamin Militar said motions filed by the respondents are delaying tactics.

“The investigation should be finished within the 90-day period and if we go beyond, we may be held administratively liable,” he said.

Continuation of the hearings is set today until Friday.