A new justice of the Court of Appeals was assigned to handle the case after Justice Ramon Paul Hernando inhibited himself .
The changes were contained in an April 26 resolution of the CA Special 8th Division resolution.
Lawyers of the Cebu city government who went to the CA yesterday to attend a hearing on their petition to stop the Rallos family from collecting the amount were informed of the changes.
Associate Justice Victoria Isable A. Paredes is now handling the case.
City Hall petitioned the CA to stop the decision of a lower court requiring Cebu City to pay P133 million to the Rallos family as just compensation for a lot taken over in the 1960s.
In applying for a writ of preliminary injunction, lawyer Jade Ponce said the city government is in effect asking the CA to prohibit the sheriff from collecting the P133 million from the city in favor of the heirs of Rev. Fr. Vicente Rallos.
The city earlier secured a temporary restraining order from the CA which stopped the scheduled auction of 9.7 hectares of the South Road Properties (SRP).
City Hall wants the injunction to become permanent as “every single centavo of Cebu City’s funds is already fully appropriated for basic services, salaries and allowances and various projects of the government. If not restrained, the sheriff will be able to garnish and take away from the city P133 million,” Ponce said.
City officials, through former Cebu City Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera, discovered last year a convenio or compromise agreement between feuding descendants of the Rallos family in the 1940s.
The agreement would purportedly prove that the Cebu city government need not pay for the lot that was supposed to be donated by the Ralloses to the local government.
But the court ignored the papers.
Judge James Himalaloan of the Regional Trial Court Branch 9 said the agreement is not considered a “supervening event that transpired after judgement of the case which became final and executory.”
City Hall said the loss of P133 million to the city would mean foregoing the use of public funds for repairing roads and implementing vital public services.
“How many basic infrastructure projects could be funded by this amount? How many scholars can be sent to school? How many fire trucks and equipment could be bought with this amount?” Ponce said. /Reporter Ador Vincent S. Mayol