Court junks TRO vs dev’t of Kawit Island

By Morexette Marie B. Erram |August 28,2018 - 09:23 PM

But Barug dads pin hopes on another case to block P18-B project

The Cebu City government is now hopeful and confident that developing the eight-hectare Kawit Island in the South Road Properties (SRP) will push through smoothly especially from the legal point of view.

This developed after the Cebu City Regional Trial Court, Branch 23, junked the petition of Busay Barangay Councilor Amilo Lopez to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the city and Universal Hotels and Resorts Inc. (UHRI) in creating Isla dela Victoria.

The two-page ruling of Presiding Judge Generosa Labra stated that Lopez’s petition for injunction through a TRO lacked merit, and is moot and academic since the P18-billion joint venture agreement (JVA) was already signed.

“The act sought to be enjoined in this case, that is, enjoining and restraining the Cebu City government and UHRI and their agents or any persons acting in their behalf from proceeding with the consummation and implementation of the JVA and from further undertaking any activity related thereto is already a consummated act,” she explained.

Lopez, who is allied with the opposition United Barug Team Rama, filed the case on Aug. 14, three days before Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña signed the JVA with UHRI President Frederick Go in Ortigas, Manila.

The court initially scheduled for a hearing on Aug. 23, but Lopez and his counsels failed to appear, and only filed a motion to reset the hearing which was also dismissed by Labra.

Cebu Daily News tried to reach Lopez for his comments but texts messages and calls to his cellular phone remained unanswered as of press time last night.

Meanwhile, Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgar Labella said the junking of the TRO is the least of his concerns.

“I don’t have any problem with the TRO being junked because the court is still proceeding with the merits of the case. (As to the second case), it’s up to the court now to decide on it. I don’t want to comment before they can come up with a decision,” Labella said in a text message.

Another case

However, the TRO is not the only suit filed by Barug in an attempt to block the project, which they have been claiming as “disadvantageous” to the city.

All eight councilors of the opposition bloc have also filed a petition before the court last Aug. 17, asking to nullify the resolution sponsored by Councilor Eugenio Gabuya Jr. which authorized Osmeña to enter into a JVA.

Lawyer Amando Virgil Ligutan, one of the city government’s counsels on the case, told reporters that they are also very confident that the second case filed by Barug will be dismissed.

“We are happy with the ruling of the court (for the first case). The court is correct, where is the urgency when the Petitioner (Lopez) and his lawyers cannot even attend the hearing? They should not trifle with the court proceedings,” said Ligutan.

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