THE Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) has terminated its P1.5 billion loan deal with the Cebu Provincial Government.
As this developed, the camp of Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia is set to withdraw its petition for injunction filed before the Regional Trial Court in Toledo City against then governor Hilario Davide III and other former Capitol officials, contractor WT Construction Inc. (WTCI) and the DBP.
The petition was filed on March 26, 2019 to stop the construction of the 20-story Provincial Resource Center in the Capitol compound.
In a manifestation filed before the court last July 19, the DBP asked for the dismissal of the petition for being moot and academic.
On May 7, 2018, Davide was authorized under Resolution 1128-2018 to enter into and sign an Omnibus Loan Term Agreement with the DBP for the P1,525,000,000 loan to finance the construction of the resource center. The former governor signed the agreement on behalf of the Cebu Provincial Government on May 23, 2018.
On June 30, 2019, Garcia issued Executive Order 1 to immediately stop and permanently discontinue all works related to the facility.
On July 3, Garcia wrote a letter to the DBP informing the latter that the resource center is not part of her administration’s programs and its construction would no longer be continued.
Another letter was sent by the Office of the Governor to the DBP last July 11 through lawyer Frank Eduard Dinsay V.
Dinsay, the governor’s chief of staff, told the DBP that the Province has no intention to use the loan; it would not seek the release of any amount from the loan.
The governor’s camp added that the loan must be considered “closed and terminated” given that the resource center, which was supposed to be funded by the DBP, would not be continued.
In an interview on Monday, July 22, lawyer Marino Martinquilla said they plan to file a motion to withdraw before the court on Tuesday, July 23.
Martinquilla, the governor’s legal consultant, said the move is an offshoot of the DBP’s stand on the matter.
“Actually, as far as the civil case is concerned, what we’re praying for in that civil case is only to enjoin the implementation of the project. We did not ask for compensation for damages from the project. Considering that the implementation is already moot and academic because Gov. Gwen is now the governor, it would be a waste of time and resources of the court to proceed with the case,” he said.
Of the respondents in the petition for injunction, only Davide remains in public office.
Davide is now serving as vice governor, while former vice governor Agnes Magpale has retired from politics after losing the gubernatorial race to Garcia.
Lawyer Mark Tolentino, on the other hand, ended his term as provincial administrator last June 30, being coterminous with Davide.
“Davide, Magpale and Tolentino were sued in their official capacities. Since (two of them) are no longer officials of the Province of Cebu, they have lost whatever standing they had with the court and in that case,” Martinquilla said.
However, the respondents are not yet off the hook, Martinquilla said.
Last May 8, Garcia lodged a complaint for violation of Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service against Davide, Magpale, Tolentino (head of the Bids and Awards Committee during Davide’s time), WTCI and Marissa Anino, head of Cebu Lending Center of the DBP before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas.
In a related development, Dinsay said WTCI has not yet replied to the governor’s letter.
The Province had given the firm 48 hours to start backfilling the excavated site where the 20-story facility was supposed to stand.
The ultimatum took effect upon receipt of the letter the Office of the Governor sent to WTCI last July 16.
The two-day final warning Garcia gave to the private contractor lapsed on Thursday, July 18.
Last July 19, the governor said the Capitol has started looking into proper procedures on how WTCI would be blacklisted from all government projects of the province. (RTF)