Barug: Not valid, BOPK: It’s legal

By Morexette Marie B. Erram and Rosalie O. Abatayo |August 09,2018 - 10:34 PM

APPROVAL OF KAWIT RESO

Even if the two-day impasse finally ended on Wednesday evening, the fight between the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) and United Barug Team Rama councilors is far from over.

Yesterday, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said he is now looking forward to signing the P18-billion joint-venture agreement (JVA) with a Gokongwei-led firm on developing the Kawit Island into an integrated resort.

This despite constant warning from the opposition bloc which insisted that the session led by BOPK on Wednesday (August 8) “was not authorized” to allow the city to enter into such transactions.

“They can file their case in court,” retorted Osmeña.

Meanwhile, questions whether Barug, led by Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgar Labella, “walked out” or adjourned the session still remained unanswered.

Council secretariat Roy Alix told reporters yesterday that an adjournment of the two-day session was made, based on their stenographic records. However, he admitted that he cannot comment on the legality of the entire session.

“The council secretariat’s job is only ministerial … It was adjourned. It was a move of member Garcia (Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia), seconded by member Garganera (Councilor Joel Garganera),” Alix explained.

But BOPK’s legal counsel, lawyer Amando Ligutan, insisted that the adjournment was not valid since it did not get the consensus of the majority.

“Whatever Mr. Alix said, that is just a personal opinion. It is not for him, nor the vice mayor or for any single member of the council to decide if there was adjournment but for the body,” Ligutan told Cebu Daily News.

Valid

Ligutan also maintained that the approval of the resolutions by the council presided by Councilor Dave Tumulak was valid, saying that the proceeding was only a continuation of what has been started on Tuesday afternoon’s regular session.

CDN tried to contact the Cebu City and the regional offices of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), for comments, but failed.

UHRI’s plans

The Universal Hotels and Resorts Inc. (UHRI), the development arm of JG Summit Holdings Corp., is eyeing to build a casino, an amphitheater, hotels, resorts, and convention centers on Kawit Island which is part of the South Road Properties (SRP).

Osmeña said the firm can proceed with the construction phase as soon as he signed the JVA, which he said may take place before July ends.

“There’s no need for an assurance (for UHRI) because it’s been approved. And they will move right away, with the construction,” he explained.

Opposition Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera, meanwhile, warned the mayor that he did not receive any authorization from the council since the session, as per Barug’s claims, was already adjourned.

“And they did not constitute a quorum. You need to have 10 councilors, there were only nine of them,” said Pesquera.

Disadvantageous

Labella also said having the integrated resort would not only be disadvantageous to the city, due to its 90–10 sharing scheme, but would also run counter to President Duterte’s campaign to eliminate gambling in the country.

“Casinos are usually the breeding grounds of other crimes,” Labella said.

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