THE recent decision of the Supreme Court’s First Division penned by Bicolano Supreme Court Associate Justice Tijam in favor of the heirs of Mariano family which reversed the earlier ruling of the Court of Appeals over the ownership of the vast track of lands where the city hall and other government buildings stand including the IBP Camarines sur Chapter, we, along with employees of the Provincial and City Prosecutors’ Offices, the City Courts and other offices located within the contested site were caught by surprise. As a sign of unity, the city officials led by Mayor John Bongat went on radio and television to express their decision to file a Motion for Reconsideration, invoking and reiterating the city’s ownership over the property. Calling the city’s move as a “Fight for Hope”, the mayor rallied the city hall’s rank and file employees and allies “to fght for their home”. From our own perspective, we firmly believe that this will be a long drawn legal battle. The city officials have all the aces in their favor as in the event that the Motion for Reconsideration is denied, it can still exercise the option to expropriate the property, and in this event the price for the land will be determined by the court. We have it on good sources that the Mariano family represented by a certain Danny Mariano (now deceased, one of the erstwhile heirs when the case of ownership was filed), while all along claiming to own the land had never paid the real estate taxes due on the disputed land.
Reports from print, TV and other broadcast media show that majority of Filipinos are not aware of the constitutional amendment being proposed by the Lower House of Congress. As we have written in this column some time ago, the Filipino people are more concerned of the basic needs of their families such as food and shelter than any constitutional amendment. The present provisions of the Local Government Code have ample provisions to address the needs of the local government units.
In yesterday’s issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (May 2,2018) we noted a two-page spread entitled “Granting the Quo Warranto is illegal, A BETRAYAL OF DEMOCRACY.” The spread further noted that “the Supreme Court trampled on the Philippine Constitution and betrayed its primary duty to the Filipino people when it violated Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno’s right to due process.”
What is interesting to note is that the signatories to the two-page manifestation are leading personalities of our society, which include, among others, former Vice-President Teopisto Guingona Jr., former Senator Rene Saguisag, Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, S.J. DD of Cagayan de Oro City, and incumbent congressmen and other bishops from different dioceses.
This writer is happy to note this manifestation as have expressed the view even earlier in this column that Chief Justice Sereno is entitled to her fundamental constitutional right to due process. After all, she is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.
QUOTATION OF THE WEEK:
“HARD WORK BEATS TALENT WHEN TALENT HAS TO WORK HARD.”
FOR OUR WORD OF LIFE:
“HE WHO WALKS IN INTEGRITY WALKS SECURELY.”