Opposition bets file petition for certiorari over City's P1.7-B loan

BACOLOD. Mayoral candidate Jocelle Batapa-Sigue (center) with congressional candidate Monico Puentevella (right) and vice mayoral candidate Jude Thaddeus Sayson (left) in a press conference May 9. (Merlinda Pedrosa)

OPPOSITION candidates filed a petition for certiorari Thursday, May 9, before the Supreme Court related to the Bacolod City's P1.7-billion loan.

The petition was filed by Asenso para saBuas-damlag sang Bacolodnon-Magbinuligay Kita sa Kauswagan (ABB-MKK) mayoral candidate Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, vice mayoral candidate Jude Thaddeus Sayson, and businessman Antonio Wong.

The filing came after the Regional Trial Court Brach 44 in Bacolod City earlier denied the petition with prayer for temporary restraining order (TRO) and/or preliminary injunction filed by the complainants against Mayor Evelio Leonardia; Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran; Councilors Caesar Distrito, Cindy Rojas, Renecito Novero, Em Ang, Elmer Sy, Ana Marie Palermo, Dindo Ramos, Bartolome Orola, Sonya Verdeflor, Lady Gles Gonzales-Pallen, and Ayesha Joy Villaflor; City Council Secretary Vicente Petierre III; City Treasurer Giovanni Balalilhe; City Budget Officer Maria Imelda Williams; City Accountant Corazon Cardel; and DBP Negros Occidental Lending Center head Bernardo Catillion Jr.

Batapa-Sigue said in a press conference Thursday, May 9, that they filed the petition for certiorari or questioning the denial of the TRO.

"We elevated the case for the Supreme Court to appreciate our argument about the facts that there is a need for us to stop this loan considering that it is an election time and the people of Bacolod are clamoring that instead of coliseum project, we need other more urgent infrastructure projects like hospital," she said.

On March 28, Presiding Judge Ana Celeste Bernad denied the petition of the complainants.

The order stated that the court found no cogent reason to grant the application for TRO for lack of legal basis.

The P1.7-billion loan will be utilized for the construction of Bacolod MassKara Coliseum with a budget of P800 million; Progreso Village Relocation Site, P350 million; Bacolod City College Site Development and Facilities, P350 million; and the construction of roads and bridges, P200 million.

These projects were already awarded to the winning bidders.

City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan said the complainants are spoilers.

He said these projects are for the people of Bacolod like the expansion of BCC to increase the enrollees this school year and to provide additional classrooms.

"So we urgently need those facilities and now she wants to spoil that?" he added.

"What is her platform of government in education?" Bayatan asked.

Bayatan said Batapa-Sigue is anti-poor, anti-development and anti-social.


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