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Banks can’t stop release of funds without court order

By: - Day Desk Editor / @dbongcac
/ 07:28 AM October 01, 2011

Cebu City Michael Rama’s warning to a government bank not to release deposits of City Hall to satisfy the money claim of the Rallos family isn’t enough.

An official of the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) yesterday told the mayor the bank can’t stop the garnishment of the city’s deposits unless there is authorization from the court.

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Dexter Ruiz, manager of the LBP Plaza Independencia branch, told the mayor to secure a court order lifting the notice of garnishment, a Temporary Restraining Order or a writ or preliminary injunction for the bank to have basis in denying the court’s order for garnishment.

Ruiz was one of three managers of the city’s depository banks who were called by the mayor in a closed-door meeting to discuss updates on the Rallos lot case.

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Also present were Ricardo Cordova of Postal Bank and Nicanor Valles of Veteran’s Bank.

A court sheriff issued on Monday a notice of immediate payment to direct the city government to pay P133.5 million to the heirs of the late Fr. Vicente Rallos since the court judgment in a long-running road lot expropriation case was already final.

“I told them this is not an ordinary case. We should be working together on this case,” Rama told reporters later.

Rama earlier wrote managers of the city’s depository banks—LBP, Philippine Veterans Bank and Philippine Postal Bank—to warn them not to release City Hall deposits in garnishment.

Ruiz, in a letter to the mayor, said the bank’s legal department advised them not to put on hold any of the city’s accounts.

Ruiz advised the mayor to secure court authorization.

“Your preferential action on this request is highly appreciated,” said Ruiz in a one-page letter.

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In his meeting with bank managers, Rama sought their help in protecting the city’s funds and said City Hall is taking legal action to prevent garnishment.

“We cannot mess with public funds,” Rama said.

He commended RTC judge James Stewart Ramon Himalalaon for directing the sheriff Antonio Bellones, who is retiring Oct. 18, to relinquish his duties in executing the writ and instead focus on processing his retirement clearance.

The mayor said this would give the city time to prepare the interventions that they would file in court.

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TAGS: Cebu City Michael Rama, Local Governments
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