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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, December 6, 2011
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SC junks with finality
cases vs. gov’t

BY CHRYSEE SAMILLANO

The Supreme Court First Division has denied for lack of merit the motion for reconsideration filed by retired policeman Victor Eduardo on the cases he had filed against Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia et al, involving the Bacolod City Government Center.

The high court decision upholds the earlier resolution of the Ombudsman and of the Supreme Court denying the same cases.

“This the final nail on the coffin of Eduardo’s dead cases,” Bacolod City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan said yesterday, upon receipt of the SC decision promulgated on September 5, 2011.

“My fellow officials and I consider this a vindication and a justification for all the problems and persecution our political opponents tried very hard to put in the way of the construction of the government center,” Leonardia said. “As I have always said, the center is truly worth fighting for.”

Records of the case show that there were originally 12 cases involving the construction of the government center, six of them administrative and six criminal filed against Leonardia and other city officials. The cases were titled Victor B. Eduardo and Sancho Nagar Sr. versus Leonardia, city councilors and other city officials. The charges were dismissed by then Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez on Sept. 17, 2009.

In dismissing the cases, the Office of the Ombudsman noted that “…no illegal disbursements were made by the CITY because all disbursements are covered with by appropriation ordinances.”

‘ENDLESS COMPLAINTS’

It also noted that allegations of the complainant “…are bare allegations and not supported by credible evidence.” Furthermore, it also noted that the issues raised by the complainants Eduardo and Nagar “were reiteration/expansion of an earlier complaint that gave us (the Ombudsman) doubt as to what motivate the complainants to file the seemingly endless complaints.”

It also stated that “After evaluating the evidence adduced by the parties, we find nothing anomalous in the construction of the Bacolod City Government Center.”

DEATH BLOW

The Ombudsman decision also called a “death blow” to the several complaints the report of the Commission on Audit that the contract price of P394,957,121 “is reasonable as within the ten (10%) percent tolerate limit and therefore cannot be considered overpriced.”

The complainants, however, appealed to the Supreme Court on May 14, 2010 the six criminal charges through a petition for review on certiorari, which the Supreme Court also dismissed on August 18, 2010, for failure to show that any grave abuse of discretion was committed in rendering the resolution which, it said “…on the contrary, appears to be in accord with the facts and the applicable law and jurisprudence.”

On October 28, 2010, issued an entry of judgment stating that the dismissal of the NGC criminal case had become final and executory.

Nevertheless, Eduardo and his lawyer Rolando Villamor again filed a motion for reconsideration, that led to the resolution of the SC First Division of September 5, 2011, denying again the motion for lack of merit.

Meanwhile, Leonardia asked for his comment, said, “It is saddening that some people had allowed themselves to be used as pawns in the attempt of our political foes to destroy us through these charges, because of the deadly sin, Envy.”

LIKE A ROSE

Ironically, he added, in the last two elections, the center was used in the attempt to destroy then, and yet it was the main factor that made them win.

He also pointed out that the Bacolod Government Center cost only P394 million, while the 195-meter flyover cost P365 million, and the Iloilo City Hall being built, now reportedly costs P720 million.

“That makes our Government Center smell like a rose, compared to all of them,” he added.*CGS

 

 

 

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