Cebu City Legal awaits court’s decision on withdrawal of declaratory relief of SRP lot sale
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City Legal Office is waiting for the court order on the withdrawal of the petition for declaratory relief to void the 2015 sale of a 45-hectare South Road Properties (SRP) lot filed by the previous administration.
Lawyer Rey Gealon, city legal officer, said they filed the withdrawal immediately after the Cebu City Council approved the move on July 27, 2019.
The case was reshuffled from the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 1o to RTC 23, which is presided by Judge Generosa Labra.
The reshuffling was due to the inhibition of RTC Branch 10 Presiding Judge Soliver Peras to hear the case, which he expressed in his letter to the City Council on July 7, 2019.
Gealon said he was confident the case would be successfully withdrawn considering its lack of merit.
“We are awaiting the court’s order on that notice to withdraw. We are confident that an order is forthcoming to grant the withdrawal of the said case,” said Gealon.
The petition for declaratory relief to void the SRP sale to the SM-Ayala Consortium and Filinvest was filed by the previous administration of former Mayor, Tomas Osmeña.
The 14th Sangguniang Panlungsod, which was dominated by Osmeña’s allies, approved the petition allowing the city to file the case to court.
Upon the assumption of Mayor Edgardo Labella, he ordered the City Legal Office to review the case if it had merit.
He already expressed beforehand that he intended to use the payment of the SM-Ayala Consortium and Filinvest on the SRP lots to pay the city’s P1.8 billion debt.
On April 30, the Court of Appeals (CA) had denied the petition of a certain Romulo Torres who argued the sale of the 45 hectare property to the SM-Ayala consortium in 2015 was illegal.
The CA affirmed the legality of the sales.
If the petition for the declaratory relief will be withdrawn, the city may be free to accept the payment of the SM-Ayala Consortium and Filinvest on the sale of the 45-hectare SRP lot, which has been consigned to the court during the previous administration because Osmeña would not accept the payment. /dbs
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