Work continues for ‘Goma’ as court junks TRO request


Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Federation President Ricardo “Goma” Cruz IV no longer sees any hindrances to fulfilling his task as ex-officio member of the Taguig City Council after the court junked a petition filed by the camp of Vice Mayor George Elias against him.

According to the order issued by Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 271 Judge Paz Esperanza Cortes, it is as yet not within the court’s jurisdiction to decide on the Elias Camp’s request for temporary restraining order (TRO) which would bar Cruz from attending further sessions of the City Council.

“This prayer for temporary restraining order of the plaintiffs, therefore, is pre-mature. Plaintiffs had not clearly shown their right in esse in their prayer for temporary restraining order,” the order read.

Cortes said the camp of the Taguig City vice mayor failed to prove that Cruz committed any violations and also to provide reasons to overturn the previous actions of other members of the City Council, including Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano.

One of these actions is the election conducted by the majority of the 28 SK chairpersons of the city wherein Cruz formally assumed federation presidency as well as gain the right to attend City Council sessions as ex-officio member.

Reacting to the order, Taguig City Councilor Carlito Ogalinola said that the court effectively declared all sessions and the passage of ordinances and resolutions carried out by the City Council as legal.

“With the order of Judge Cortes, we see clearly that the court is on our side and that all the things we’ve accomplished during sessions are legal. This is a huge boost to our morale, whereas it is a setback for the vice mayor’s camp,” Ogalinola said.

Even Councilor Gamie San Pedro expressed appreciation over the court’s decision, saying that it finally put to rest the question about which group in the City Council has been working legitimately and is legally holding sessions.

The City Council has apparently split into two groups, one faction composed of Councilor Pro Tempore Gigi Valenzuela de Mesa; City Council Majority Leader Ric Jordan; Councilors Jimmy Labampa; Erwin Manalili; AP Bartolome, Jojo Eron, Ogalinola and San Pedro;  Association of Barangay Chairmen (ABC) President Ome Tanyag and Cruz, all allies of Mayor Cayetano.

Elias heads the other group, which recognizes Michelle Mae Gonzales as SK Federation president.

Ogalinola added that because of the court order, Gonzales’s attendance of the sessions conducted by Elias’s group is meaningless as there is no quorum.

Aside from this, the sessions presided by Elias also violate the internal rules of procedure of the City Council since these are held Mondays at 5 p.m., instead of 3 p.m. on the same day within the session hall.

“Not only was our prescribed time and day for the conduct of sessions violated but also the site where it should be held. There were even times when they held sessions at fast-food chains or resto-bars,” added Ogalinola.

FILIPINO VERSION:

Wala nang balakid pa sa pagdalo ni Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Federation President Ricardo “Goma” Cruz IV bilang ex-officio member ng Sangguniang Panglunsod ng Taguig City matapos maibasura ng korte ang inihaing petisyon laban sa kanya ng kampo ni city Vice-Mayor George Elias.

Ayon sa kautusan ni Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 271 Judge Paz Esperanza Cortes, wala pa sa huresdiksyon ng korte para desisyunan ang hiling na temporary restraining order (TRO) ng kampo ni Elias sa pagdalo ni Cruz sa mga session ng Sangguniang Panglunsod.

Ayon kay judge Cortes, ang kaso na isinampa ni Elias sa Pasig Regional Trial Court Branch 271 (Civil Case No. 72900-TG) ay para lamang sa “nullification of acts and documents and injunction with application for temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction” at hindi tumatalakay sa karapatan ni Ricardo “Goma” Cruz IV bilang ex-officio member ng Sangguniang Panglungsod.

“This prayer for temporary restraining order of the plaintiffs, therefore, is pre-mature. Plaintiffs had not clearly shown their right in esse in their prayer for temporary restraining order,” anang naturang kautusan.

Ayon sa korte, ang “right in esse” ay ang malinaw na karapatan para maprotektahan sa ilalim ng batas, na isa sa mga pangunahing elemento sa pagpapalabas ng preliminary injunction.

Ayon kay Cortes, nabigo ang kampo ng Taguig City vice-mayor na patunayang may nalabag ang kampo ni Cruz gayundin para pigilan ang mga naunang naging aksyon ng  iba pang miyembro ng Sangguniang Panglunsod kasama na si Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano.

Nauna rito, nailukluk si Goma bilang bagong SK Federation President sa isinagawang botohan sa hanay ng mayorya ng SK Federation chairpersons na siyang nagbunsod ng pagdalo nito sa mga sesyon ng city council bilang ex-officio member.

Bilang reaksyon, sinabi ni Taguig City Councilor Carlito Ogalinola na sa ipinalabas na kautusang ito ng korte, kinikilala rin nito at idineklarang legal ang lahat ng kanilang isinagawang sesyon gayundin ang pagpasa nila ng mga ordinansa at resolusyon.

“Dito sa order ni Judge Cortes, ipinakikita nito na kapanalig natin ang korte at tama ang lahat ng ating mga nagawa sa idinaos naming mga sesyon. Malaking boost ito sa aming morale at tiyak naman na kapilayan ito sa kampo nila vice-mayor,” pahayag pa ni Ogalinola.

Maging si Councilor Gamie San Pedro ay malaki ang pasasalamat sa naging desisyon ng korte dahil sinagot nito ang matagal nang katanungan hinggil sa kung alin grupo ng city council ang lehitimong nagtatrabaho at legal ang pagsasagawa ng sesyon.

Nabatid na nahati sa dalawang paksyon ang mga bumubuo ng konseho, ang una ay  kinabibilangan nila Councilor Pro Tempore Gigi Valenzuela de Mesa; City Council Majority Leader Ric Jordan; Councilors Jimmy Labampa, Erwin Manalili, AP Bartolome, Jojo Eron, Ogalinola at San Pedro; Association of Barangay Chairmen (ABC) President Ome Tanyag at Cruz, na pawang mga kaalyado ni Mayor Cayetano.

Ang kabilang grupo ay pinamumunuan naman ni Elias kung saan ang kinikilala nilang SK Federation President ay si Michelle Mae Gonzales.

Ayon naman kay Konsehal Labampa, dahil sa naturang court order, walang saysay ang pagdalo ni Gonzales at balewala ang mga sesyong ginawa ng grupo ni Elias dahil wala silang ‘quorum.’

Bukod dito, paglabag din sa internal rules of procedure ng city council ang sesyon nila Elias dahil tuwing alas-5 ng hapon ng Lunes nila ito ginagawa sa halip sa nakasaad na dapat ay alas-3 ng hapon ito sa kada nasabing araw at sa session hall ito idaos.

“Hindi lang naman ‘yung inaprubahan naming oras at araw para sa aming sesyon ang nilabag nila vice-mayor kundi pati na rin ‘yung sa kung saan ito dapat gawin. May pagkakataon kasing sa isang fast food chain o resto-bar sila kung mag-sesyon” dugtong ni Labampa.


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