Judge to opposition dads: Reply to memorandum

JUDGE Soliver Peras has ordered the eight opposition councilors to submit their reply to the memorandum of the Cebu City Government relative to the petition that seeks to stop the development of an P18 billion integrated resort and casino complex in Kawit Island at the South Road Properties (SRP).

This, as Peras denied the plea for issuance of a temporary restraining order filed by the city councilors, who sought to nullify the resolutions that authorized Mayor Tomas Osmeña to sign the joint venture agreement to develop the Kawit Island project.

In his order, Judge Peras also directed the petitioners to file their comment to the memorandum submitted by the respondents, who sought the dismissal of the petition for violating the rule on non-forum shopping.

The city lawyers argued that a similar petition filed by Busay Barangay Councilor Amilo Lopez is pending before Judge Generosa Labra.

In denying the the petitioners’ restraining order, Peras found “no urgent need” to issue one.

The case stemmed from the petition for declaration of nullity with the prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) and preliminary injunction against the City Government.

The petition seeks to prevent the City from entering into a joint venture deal with Universal Hotels and Resorts Inc. (UHRI).

The petitioners are Councilors Jose Daluz III, Jocelyn Pesquera, Raymond Garcia, Pastor Alcover, Erik Miguel Espina, Joel Garganera and Eduardo Rama Jr.

In their petition, they said that the majority bloc had no basis to convene in a session where they passed the two questioned resolutions.

They said that minutes of the Aug. 7 session revealed that the session had already adjourned and any resolution approved after it was already illegal.

But the majority bloc insists the proceedings were valid because it was just a continuation of their regular session.

However, Mayor Tomas Osmeña and officers of UHRI signed the joint-venture deal to develop Kawit Island.

UHRI president Frederick Go signed the agreement last Aug. 17.

Labra, of the Regional Trial Court branch 23, also denied Lopez’s suit for being moot. Lopez sought the issuance of a temporary restraining order against the deal between the City Government and UHRI.

“The act sought to be enjoined... is already a consummated act,” said Judge Labra in her two-page order.

UHRI, the property development arm of JG Summit Inc., proposed to develop “Isla de la Victoria” that will consist of a commercial and shopping center, a theater for performing arts, a convention center, an integrated resort and gaming facility, three hotels, a theme park, a public art installation and parking facilities.

JG Summit Inc., founded by Cebuano business tycoon John Gokongwei, wants to lease and develop the eight-hectare Kawit property for 50 years.

Under the proposed deal, the City will get a 10-percent share from the lease of commercial and shopping areas, hotels and the integrated resort, and 15 percent from the casino’s operations. GMD


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