By Mortz C. Ortigoza
SAN CARLOS CITY – It seems the mall of the Magic Group of Companies (MGC) in Malasiqui town will continue to operate after the Regional Trial Court’s judge here said that the petitions of writ of demolition and writ of execution filed by Mario Armas were misdirected.
|The under siege mall of Magic Group of Companies in Malasiqui, Pangasinan.|
Judge Renato Pinlac explained that he could not just accede to the petition of petitioner Armas because the decision of the Court of Appeals, after the case was remanded to it by the Supreme Court, was to invalidate Ordinance No. 005-2003 and Resolution No. 002-2009.
The Ordinance, passed by the Sanggunian Bayan (town legislature), was known as “An ordinance withdrawing from public use to private use the area of 1, 800 square meters from the 10, 743 square meters lot located at Poblacion owned by the municipality of Malasiqui”.
The legal dispute with the ordinance started when it was not approved by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (provincial board) but instead remanded to the town council in 2004 where its members, despite the absence of public hearing, bidding, and the required two-third votes, railroaded it by empowering Mayor Armando Domantay to negotiate with MGC for the lease of property through Resolution No. 002-2009.
Consequently, it led Domantay to execute a 40-year contract of lease with Magic.
But Armas petitioned the act of the mayor and the then SB members with writ of injunction but the Regional Trial Court here under Judge Emma Bauzon denied him.
When he appealed to the CA, the appellate court reversed in 2014 the decision of the judge.
But Judge Pinlac, the successor of Judge Bauzon, said he could not just grant the petitioner his writs of execution and demolition because Armas’ prayer to the CA was for injunction.
“Because of that the sheriff could not do any positive act but merely declares the (ordinance) and resolution invalid,” he explained.
Pinlac said he could not just acquiesced to the petition of Armas to demolish because the petition tried by the C.A was not a real property.
“This does not involve a real property. This does not involve recovery of possession, halimbawa recovered panalo ako. Ikaw ang naka-possession. Ayaw mong umalis? Pa demolish ko iyan kasi it pertains to a real action of recovery of position. Pero ito (Magic case), declaration of the ordinance”.
He said he could not just order the demolition of the edifice because the C.A did not unequivocally say he should do it.
“Ayaw ko ma accused ng ignorance of the law”.
Pinlac debunked Armas arguments that MGC is a builder in bad faith.
“Assuming arguendo na puwede i demolish. You cannot demolish, why? Remember that Magic is a builder in good faith. Ginawa niya iyan based on contract thinking that the contract is valid”.
He said the right thing to do to flatten the huge mall is to file an action for recovery of possession or ejection.
He said the one who will file a petition for these actions would be the municipal government, after Northern Watch asked him if it could still be Armas or whoever riding on a tax payer’s suit.
Meanwhile, the Ombudsman dismissed last July 30 the administrative complaint of Jaime Aquino against the 11 present and former officials of Malasiqui for abuse of authority and grave misconduct over the controversial land lease of the administration of Mayor Armando Domantay, Sr. to the MGC.
Those who were sued by Aquino were Mayor Domantay Sr., Vice Mayor Mariano Espinosa, Councilors Canuto Mendoza, Pedro Opguar, Roberto Sanchez, Alfredo Palaganas, Joey Soriano, Ildefonso Veloria, Sonny Domantay, Noel Geslani, Sangguniang Kabataan Federation President Harfe Padilla and Provincial Legal Officer Geraldine Baniqued.
He accused them of illegal land use conversion of a lot located at Poblacion area, then a public lot, into a commercial lot now occupied by MGC under a lease agreement with the municipal government of Malasiqui.
But Ombudsman Conchita Carpio disagreed to the accusation of Aquino and thus penned the following: “There is no proof that respondents Espinosa, Mendoza, Opguar, Sanchez, Palaganas, Soriano, Veloria, S. Domantay, Geslani and Padilla did not comply with Sec. 21 of Republic Act No. 7160 when they enacted SB resolution no. 002- 2009,” the resolution read.
The Ombudsman said complainant failed to establish that the property subject of SB resolution No. 02- 2009 was previously used as a local road, alley, park or square that would require the withdrawal of the property from its public use before it can be alienated through lease. The records disclose that the property was vacant and unproductive.