Court junks complaint versus Kawit project
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.
Dark clouds blanket Metro Cebu last Friday.