Sep 28, 2020 @ 10:05

CA junks Iriga councilors’ petition to stop P275M Amusement Park project

The Court of Appeals (CA) has dismissed the petition of two councilors seeking to stop the commencement of expropriation proceedings and the release of a P275-million loan for the development of the Iriga City Amusement Park.

In a recent 5-page resolution, the CA 17th Division cited the failure of councilors Edsel Dimaiwat and Wilfranco Guevara, as well as University of Saint Anthony president Santiago Ortega, Jr., to observe the hierarchy of courts.

Instead of going directly to the CA, it said the case should have been brought first to the proper Regional Trial Court (RTC).

The CA said the petitioners did not meet any of the exceptions to the policy, such as the advancement of public policy, the broader interest of justice, the patent nullity of challenged orders, and similar circumstances.

“The strictness of the policy is designed to shield this Court from having to deal with causes that are also well within the competence of the lower courts, and thus leave time to this Court to deal with the more fundamental and more essential tasks that the Constitution has assigned to it,” read the resolution penned by Associate Justice Myra Garcia-Fernandez.

Dimaiwat and Guevara are the only two members of the Liberal Party (LP)-dominated Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) to belong to the Nacionalista Party (NP).

The case revolved around City Ordinance Number 2019-05, which was passed by the SP on May 28, 2019 to authorize Mayor Madelaine Alfelor to institute expropriation proceedings over 31,493 square meters of land located in Barangay San Nicolas for the amusement park project.

The councilors said the city ordinance was declared invalid by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Camarines Sur on June 26, 2019 through Resolution Number 960, on the ground that the requirements regarding a valid and definite offer to the landowners were not strictly observed.

Although Alfelor received two copies of the resolution, the councilors claimed that she proceeded with the filing of the expropriation complaint against the landowners on August 14, 2019. She even held a groundbreaking ceremony on the proposed site of the amusement park on October 11, 2019.

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