After Supreme Court says Mall’s Illegal
By Mortz C. Ortigoza
MALASIQUI – The writ for motion of demolition of the vast multi-million pesos mall of Magic Group of Companies (MGC) here will be tried at the Regional Trial Court Branch- 52 in San Carlos City after the Supreme Court decided that its presence was illegal.
According to plaintiff Mario Armas, the final decision of the Supreme Court in Baguio City last April 7 had sealed the fate of the mall built and operated by MGC.
“There will be a hearing for a Motion of the Issuance of Writ of Demolition on August 15 at the RTC-Branch 52 in San Carlos (City). I invite all the media practitioners to attend,” Armas, a non-lawyer but lawyers himself and co-plaintiff Osmundo Lambino in winning the petition for a provisional remedy for the construction of the mall at the local government unit's (LGU) land at the Supreme Court, said.
The mall was built in late 2000 after the members of the Sanggunian Bayan (SB or town council) haphazardly if not surreptitiously approved it while Mayor Domantay signed it into law for MGC to lease the municipal lot.
Armas and Lambino questioned it at the Regional Trial Court in San Carlos City, and after it rejected their petition appealed to the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court and won their case primordially on manifest abused of authority and contract disadvantageous to the LGU here by the members of the SB who railroaded it despite the absence of the necessary two-third votes mandated by the Local Government Code of 1999.
Armas explained that after the high tribunal's decision the present members of the SB can not just pass a resolution extending to MGC the lease contract with the LGU here its former building just to skew the Supreme Court's decision.
“No, because under the law the Magic building is now considered beyond the commerce of men by analogy and therefore they can not touch the building, but they can touch the land (where the mall is erected). Now there was a rumor here in Malasiqui that they will pass an ordinance with all the members of the SB will sign the same in order to maintain the status quo ante – meaning (mall owner) Mr. Benjie Lim will be the one to lease the building. That is not allowed under the law otherwise they would be liable for indirect contempt of court,” he explained.
He said indirect contempt metes a penalty of six years of incarceration.
Mayor Domantay deplored that the demolition of the mall would result to the loss of 250 workers job. He said 75% to 80% of those personnel come from here.
“Ngayon iyang 250 may tatlong anak, 750 kaya parang gugutumin mo iyong 750 na taga Malasiqui”.
Armas said the best thing to save those jobs and for the legal thing for the Lim family is to donate the edifice to the town.
He said it would be far fetched for the Lims to demolish the edifice as it would cost them another one to two million pesos.
Domantay said he honors any decision of the court on the fate that awaits the MGC here.
“Basta ako I am a law abiding citizen. I respect the decision of the court”.
Political spectators on the Magic issue here say the victory of the plaintiffs in the high court does not conclude that the Domantay Administration losses. In reality his administration and the people here won because the mall, if donated, become the property of the LGU here.