SM Seaside gets April 20 deadline
With agreement, mall lawyers withdraw request for TRO against Cebu City gov’t
SM Seaside City Cebu can continue operating without any fear of having the establishment closed by Cebu City Hall at least until April 20.
Lawyers representing SM Seaside and City Hall agreed to allow the mall to continue complying with the documents being required by the city government before they could be issued a final business permit.
This was agreed upon during yesterday’s continuation of the hearing for petition for mandamus and prohibition filed by SM at the Regional Trial Court Branch 9.
And while SM complies with the requirements, City Hall lawyers assured that the city government would not take any action to close the establishment.
April 20 is actually the deadline set by City Hall for all businesses in Cebu City to comply with all documentary requirements before they can be given a final business permit from the city, said Claire Cabalda, head of City Hall’s Business Permit Licensing Office (BPLO).
Cabalda, who was earlier summoned by Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 9 Presiding Judge Alexander Acosta, took the witness stand yesterday (Friday). She explained the city’s processes in renewing permits of businesses in the city, including SM Seaside.
“What is important is there is no admission of non-compliance (on the part of SM Seaside). But we will go over the request and checklist of documents required by the city … We are more than willing to secure (the documents), provided there is a clear agreement among the parties,” said lawyer Chrysilla Carissa Bautista, one of legal counsels of SM Prime Holdings Inc., the parent company of SM Group’s shopping malls.
In response, City Hall lawyer Lyndon Basan said that the city, through the BPLO, is willing to give time to SM to comply with their documentary requirements and discuss on some requirements that they may not be able comply with.
Among those documents that SM Seaside allegedly failed to submit were a barangay clearance, real property tax clearance, certificate of no delinquency and business permits for previous years.
Basan also agreed that until after April 20, there would be no action from the city government to close or cause the closure of SM Seaside.
The agreement was presented and discussed by lawyers of both parties to Judge Acosta during yesterday’s hearing.
Acosta said that the agreement would in effect render SM Seaside’s petition for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) as moot and academic since a TRO could only last for 20 days, but the agreed April 20 deadline is more than that.
Bautista agreed and SM Seaside decided to withdraw their request for a TRO and asked to get back their P2 million bond they deposited for the TRO request, which was granted by Acosta.
But while the request for TRO has been withdrawn by SM Seaside, their main petition for a mandamus and prohibition is still pending.
Another hearing has been set on May 3 to discuss the main petition as well as the possibility of a permanent injunction to be issued by the RTC.
City Hall was also given 30 days to submit their official answer on the petition.
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