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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Firm demands P32M from CH over garbage services

A private company specializing in air, water and solid waste management has filed a civil suit against Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña for breach of contract and asked the latter to pay close to P32 million for garbage disposal services.

In a complaint filed last Nov. 2 before the Regional Trial Court in Parañaque City, Asian Energy Systems Corp. alleged that the City Government has unpaid bills for waste disposal services in the amount of P31,991,148. This includes litigation expenses and damages.

Asian Energy operates the private landfill in Consolacion where the City used to dump its garbage.

It filed the lawsuit against Osmeña in his capacity as mayor of the City of Cebu.

The unpaid amount represents the tipping fee for garbage dumped by the City in the facility from March 14, 2016 to Aug. 31 of the same year.

The City started dumping its garbage in Consolacion in December 2011, after the Inayawan Sanitary Landfill was shut down by then mayor Michael Rama.

Rama’s administration paid the company on the basis of a purchase order (PO).

Transactions

A copy of the unpaid billings showed that the largest volume of trash the City has dumped in the private facility was some 8,406.47 tons.

It covered the first 15 days of the alleged unpaid transactions, or from March 14 to 31.

This cost around P5,884,529, making it the highest progress billing for the last six months that the City hired Asian Energy’s services.

The least volume of garbage dumped, on the other hand, was only around 349.02 tons. This was from July 15 to Aug. 31, and amounted to P244,314.

In the complaint, Asian Energy said it sent a demand letter to Osmeña last Feb. 23, 2017.

“But the latter (Osmeña), without valid reason and in violation of PO 398 issued by the City of Cebu, refused and failed to pay the amount demanded for the services rendered,” reads a portion of the complaint.

The demand for payment was covered by PO 398 dated April 27, 2016, which was issued by Rama pursuant to the City Bids and Awards Committee’s resolution dated April 19, 2016.

Asian Energy said PO 398 “constituted to a contract” between them and the City and, as such, has the force of law between the parties.

“For not complying with the fulfillment of obligation expressly stipulated upon with evident bad faith and abuse of authority, Osmeña must be held jointly and severally liable with the City for the said amount, plus damages.”

Sought for comment, City Attorney Joseph Bernaldez said his office is already drafting the City’s reply to the case.

“We are already preparing our answer. It will be filed in due time,” he said.

Osmeña, for his part, remains unfazed by the development.

In a text message to SunStar Cebu yesterday, the mayor reiterated that Asian Energy has no contract with the City.

He said he won’t let the City settle the P32 million on the basis of a PO.

“There was no bidding, no contract. It’s a fraudulent claim,” he said.

It was Osmeña who challenged the filing of cases against the City over the garbage disposal services, saying that it’s the only way to determine if the arrangement that the previous administration entered into with the company was legal. (RTF)
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