THE Court of Appeals (CA) has denied the motion for reconsideration filed by House Speaker Prospero Nograles over the demolition of the Nograles Park by the City Government of Davao.
The appellate court on October 12, 2009 initially nullified a ruling of the Office of the Ombudsman that placed under preventive suspension three officials of the City Engineer’s Office for ordering the demolition of a canal cover project constructed by Nograles and named after his father, Erico.
In a decision earlier penned by Associate Justice Mario Lopez, the CA's Special Ninth Division granted the appeal filed by petitioners City Engineer Jose Gestuveo Jr., City Administrator Wendel Avisado and drainage maintenance chief Yusop Jimlani who sought to stop the Ombudsman and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) from serving their six-month suspension for alleged grave misconduct.
The first resolution prompted Nograles and the Office of the Ombudsman to file a motion for reconsideration.
But in another resolution promulgated last March 10, 2010, the CA denied the motion saying the points raised both by Nograles and the Ombudsman do not persuade.
“The Issues raised in both motions for reconsideration are not new. They have been squarely passed upon in our decision,” said the order penned by Associate Justice Mario Lopez.
Lopez reiterated in the order that “it would be unreasonable, if not ludicrous, to require respondent City Engineer Gestuveo to secure a demolition permit from himself. That the demolition of the canal cover project was headed by the Davao City Engineer’s Office already implies the allowance of the demolition permit, or at the very least, regularity of public duty.”
Lopez also noted in the decision that “on its face, petitioners’ communications denote absence of corrupt motive to maliciously and arbitrarily destroy a project of the National Government…Petitioners’ prima facie good faith in undertaking the demolition weakens the strength of the evidence of their guilt for the charge of grave misconduct.”
City Administrator Wendel Avisado lauded the decision of the court saying the City Government merely followed the law.
“The court has spoken and true justice has prevailed. The City Government has a mandate and we just did our job and implemented the order,” Avisado said.
Avisado believes that what the City Government implemented was in accordance with the law and that there was definitely no abuse of authority in issuing the demolition order and no grave misconduct committed in implementing it.
For his part, Gestuveo said the court’s decision gives “reassurance to the functionaries of city the government that the weight of justice is always on the side of what is good for the people.”
“We were just doing for the good of Davao City and there were no political biases involved when we exercised our mandated function. From the beginning I am confident that we were doing the right thing. This is a vindication of what we continue to believe as right,” he said.