Cayetano: Junk Ombudsman appeal
TAGUIG Mayor Lani Cayetano and City Administrator Jose Luis Montales have asked the Sandiganbayan to uphold its decision junking the felony case filed against them for closing the city council’s session hall in 2010.
In a joint opposition submitted on Friday, Cayetano and Montales urged the antigraft court’s First Division to set aside “for utter lack of merit” the appeal filed by the Office of the Ombudsman seeking to proceed with their trial for violation of Article 143 of the Revised Penal Code.
The Marcos-era edict outlaws the prevention of meetings by Congress, constitutional commissions, provincial boards and town councils “by force or fraud.”
As pointed out by the court in a ruling it promulgated on Dec. 11, 2015, Cayetano said the Local Government Code had authorized local chief executives like her to approve the use of office spaces at city hall.
“Indeed, the unequivocal and discretionary power given to the city mayor to allocate and assign offices spaces is for efficient, effective and economical governance,” read a portion of Cayetano and Montales’ 13-page opposition.
“In this case, there is no proof that the assignment and allocation of a new session hall is arbitrary and tainted with bad faith,” it added.
Cayetano, wife of vice presidential aspirant Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, argued that there was “no evidence of fraud or farce to prevent” the city council from holding its first meeting on Aug. 16, 2010, when she ordered the padlocking of the session hall to give way to a reorganization at City Hall.
They said pursuing the case against them would only result in “grave and manifest injustice.”
In dismissing the case against Cayetano and Montales, the Sandiganbayan’s First Division said it was not convinced that they “committed deception or made misrepresentation to the complainants” when they ordered the closure of the session hall, which prompted the 17-member city council to hold its meeting on the stairs of city hall. Marlon Ramos
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