Duterte wins court case over village funds

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The Supreme Court (SC) recently ruled in favor of President Rodrigo Duterte, in his previous capacity as mayor of Davao City, in connection with alleged withholding of funds appropriated to a barangay (village) in the city.

In a ruling, the SC’s First Division granted a petition filed by Davao City, represented by Duterte, city accountant Rizalina Justol and city administrator Windel Avisado, and reversed two resolutions of the Court of Appeals (CA).

The CA earlier granted the petition for mandamus initially filed by Robert Olanolan, chairman of Barangay 76-A, Bucana, before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Davao City.

Olanolan’s petition sought to compel the Davao City government to release around P8.5 million allocated to Barangay Bucana during Olanolan’s stint.


The SC, however, ruled that Olanolan’s petition has become moot and academic since the funds from which the allocation is supposed to be sourced have already been exhausted.

“At any rate, petitioner points out that the issue in this case has already been rendered moot and academic. In particular, petitioner states that the release of the barangay funds corresponding to the aggregate amount of respondents’ claim is no longer possible given that the budget for the year 2005 has already been exhausted,” it said.

The case stemmed from an election controversy after Olanolan’’s proclamation as chairmanof Barangay 76-A, Bucana on July 15, 2002.

Olanolan’s rival , Celso Tizon, filed an election protest before the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) of Davao City.

Tizon’s election protest was initially dismissed by the MTCC but was later granted by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Second Division on appeal.

Tizon, thus, was proclaimed as the chairman of the Barangay Bucana .

This prompted Olanolan to file a motion for reconsideration, which was denied, as were subsequent petitions seeking to nullify the Comelec’s ruling and restrain Tizons’s assumption into office before the SC.

The SC, in light of the pendency of Olanolan’s petition, issued a status quo ante order (SQAO), which led to his reinstatement as village chairman.

After being reinstated, Olanolan presided over proceedings, leading to the passage of a village ordinance appropriating a total of P8.5 million for his barangay for 2005.

The High Court eventually recalled the SQAO, prompting Olanolan to file a motion for reconsideration.

JOMAR CANLAS

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