Court junks com­plaint ver­sus Kawit project

The Freeman - - FRONT PAGE - Odessa O. Leyson

For fail­ure of the com­plainant to ap­pear in the sched­uled hear­ing of the case, the Re­gional Trial Court de­nied a com­plaint to stop the P18 bil­lion de­vel­op­ment project at Kawit Is­land at the South Road Prop­er­ties in Cebu City.

“In view thereof and as prayed for by the de­fen­dants through coun­sel, plain­tiff’s ap­pli­ca­tion for pre­lim­i­nary in­junc­tion is hereby DE­NIED,” reads the de­ci­sion of RTC Judge Gen­erosa Labra.

The com­plainant, Barangay Busay coun­cil­man Amilo Lopez, failed to ap­pear dur­ing the sched­uled hear­ing of the com­plaint last Fri­day.

Lopez filed the com­plaint last Au­gust 14, cit­ing three rea­sons why the project should not be al­lowed to push through: That Uni­ver­sal Ho­tels and Res­tau­rants Inc. does not have the tech­ni­cal ca­pac­ity to un­der­take the project pro­vided un­der the Joint Ven­ture Or­di­nance, that UHRI does not have the fi­nan­cial ca­pac­ity to un­der­take the project pre­scribed un­der the same or­di­nance, and that the City Coun­cil did not au­tho­rize Mayor To­mas Os­meña to sign the JVA with UHRI of­fi­cials.

Lopez ar­gued that the ap­proval of the project at the Coun­cil last Au­gust 7 and 8 was not valid be­cause the ses­sion was al­ready ad­journed when op­po­si­tion coun­cilors left the ses­sion hall.

Coun­cilors al­lied with Os­meña, how­ever, re­mained at the ses­sion hall and ap­proved the re­vival of the project.

In fact, last Au­gust 17, Os­meña signed the JVA with UHRI.

“The Sang­gu­ni­ang Pan­lung­sod of the City of Cebu did not give its im­pri­matur or au­tho­riza­tion for the city mayor to en­ter into the sub­ject Joint Ven­ture Agree­ment not­with­stand­ing the ir­reg­u­lar ses­sion con­ducted by the Sang­gu­ni­ang Pan­lung­sod’s ma­jor­ity bloc,” reads a por­tion of Lopez’ com­plaint.

In a Face­book post last Fri­day, Os­meña said:

“For the third time in a row, Team Suyop’s case against Isla dela Vic­to­ria has been DE­NIED. The barangay cap­tain they used to file the case, a cap­tain who tested pos­i­tive for shabu in 2016, didn’t even bother to show up. Had­lok man daw kay naay lain drug test.”

“There are other cases still on­go­ing, but they are all sim­ply ha­rass­ment cases like this one. I am sure that out­comes of Team Suyop’s cases will be as POS­I­TIVE for us as their drug tests are for them,” he also said.

Atty. Amando Vir­gil Ligutan, le­gal coun­sel of Os­meña’s group, the Bando Os­meña Pun­dok Kauswa­gan, said the re­cent court rul­ing is good for the city.

“This is good for the city. It goes to show that the other side has noth­ing to sup­port their claims in court. They are mak­ing a mock­ery of our courts,” he told re­porters.

The FREE­MAN tried but could not reach Lopez for com­ment.

Op­po­si­tion coun­cilor Jose Daluz said they will file an­other com­plaint be­fore the court next week.

“As ex­pected, be­cause the case has be­come moot and aca­demic con­sid­er­ing the con­tract had been signed. We will be fil­ing a new case this time ques­tion­ing the va­lid­ity of the con­tract,” he told The FREE­MAN.

Daluz’ fel­low op­po­si­tion coun­cilor, Ray­mond Gar­cia, said they ex­pected the court to rule against the com­plaint.

Os­meña’s ally, Coun­cilor Eu­ge­nio Gabuya Jr., said he ex­pected for the court to rule in their fa­vor be­cause the project is le­gal.

“Con­fi­dent man ko since from the start be­cause their al­le­ga­tion is we don’t have quo­rum when it was very clear that they walked out dur­ing ses­sion…I thank God and Mayor Tom for this de­vel­op­ment for our city,” he said.

Gabuya is the one who spon­sored the res­o­lu­tion ask­ing the Coun­cil to ap­prove the project. He said con­struc­tion of the project will start next month af­ter nec­es­sary per­mits are com­plied with.

ALDO NELBERT BANAYNAL

Dark clouds blan­ket Metro Cebu last Fri­day.

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