Tom O: Fight in SRP not yet over

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | January 24,2021 - 02:10 PM
Former Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña | CDN file photo

Former Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña says he continue the fight over the sale of lots at the South Road Properties and he will be willing to take the case up to the Supreme Court.  | CDN file photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Former Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña is not giving up the fight over the sale of several lots of the South Road Properties (SRP).

Osmeña, in a phone interview with CDN Digital on Sunday, January 24, said his camp is seeking a remedy for a recent court ruling that dismissed cases he filed earlier aimed at invalidating the selling of over 20 hectares of SRP lots to several developers, including the SM-Ayala consortium. 

“I have yet to personally read the entire document but I fought for the SRP for 25 years, and they’re going to brush me off like I dont know anything, and I have no personality? I’m going to challenge that. Because if it werent for me there would be no SRP,” Osmeña said. 

Branch 10 of the Regional Trial Court in Cebu City dismissed the declaratory relief, and applications for temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction that Osmeña filed against present Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella, the City Council, SM Prime Holdings Inc., Ayala Land Inc., Cebu Holdings Inc., Filinvest Land Inc., Filinvest Alabang Inc., Cyberzone Properties Inc., Anesy Holdings Corp., Igold Holdings Corp. and Betterfield Phil. Corp.

Presiding Judge Soliver Peras said the former mayor had no legal standing to question the transaction “whether as taxpayer, constituent or former mayor because there is no constitutional issue to justify relaxation of the rules on legal standing and there is no disbursement of public funds involved in the contracts to justify suit as taxpayer.”

The court also junked the cases against the respondents by saying that there was no disbursement of public funds involved. 

But Osmeña said he would be willing to take the case even up to the Supreme Court. 

“We’re fighting very powerful people and I’m prepared to fight. I’ll do what I can for the people of Cebu. I don’t give up that easy”, he added. 

Lawyer Amando Virgil Ligutan, Osmeña’s legal counsel, told CDN Digital in a separate interview that they would file a motion for reconsideration on the case. 

“We will file a Motion for Reconsideration, and we will fight this out up to the Supreme Court. We are just beginning. We are just warming up,” said Ligutan. 

Their camp stood firm on its position that the Osmeña has a say in taking legal actions against several government officials and real estate firms over the sale of real properties which they deemed illegal. 

“A former mayor who has been fighting for SRP all his life has no standing to question the anomalous contract? Who has standing then? Virtually zero. This is not correct,” said Ligutan. 

“Also, Tomas Osmeña signed himself checks for the payment of the SRP loan. So it does not make sense to say there is no disbursement of public funds in this case,” he added. 

The administration of then Cebu City Mayor and now Vice Mayor Michael Rama entered into a contract to sell parcels of SRP to Filinvest and the SM-Ayala consortium in 2015.

Osmeña filed a declaratory relief in 2019 seeking to nullify the transaction, the same year when the real estate giants broke ground for the property which will be redeveloped into a “business district”. /dbs

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TAGS: ayala land, Labella, Osmeña, Rama, SM, South Road Properties, SRP, Supreme Court, Tomas

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