Rama sues sheriff for grave abuse

Posted on September 30, 2011

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CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama yesterday filed a complaint against the sheriff who enforced a court order for the city government to pay over P133 million as just compensation to heirs of the late Rev. Fr. Vicente Rallos.

The mayor asked the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas to investigate Antonio Bellones, sheriff IV of Regional Trial Court Branch 9, for violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and grave abuse of authority.

“The final execution of the case against the City of Cebu is unfortunately being done hastily, yet irregularly pursued, under my term when in the first place my administration had nothing to do with this whole case,” Rama said in an affidavit.

Last Sept. 23, the city received an order from Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge James Stewart Ramon Himalaloan, for the execution of a judgment directing Cebu City to settle its dues to the Rallos family over a lot expropriated in 1963.

Three days after, Clerk of Court Jeoffrey Joaquino issued a writ of execution. On the same day, Bellones issued a demand for immediate payment to the city.

Mayor Rama said the city should be given 15 days to reply to the demand and explain what steps were taken to comply with the court order.

The mayor said the sheriff gave the wrong date on the Notice of Garnishment. Instead of Sept. 26, 2011, Bellones’ notice was dated May 29, 2009.

“Which begs the question: Did the respondent sheriff prepare the said Notice of Garnishment in anticipation of the forthcoming Writ of Execution?

“The respondent by sheer arbitrary and irregular act coupled with blinding speed, issued the said notice, causing the putting on hold of P133,469,962.55, potentially depriving the City of Cebu funds already earmarked for delivery of public services and to the prejudice of the city itself,” Rama said.

The sheriff is due to retire on Oct. 18. He said he was just doing his job.

Yesterday Bellones was asked by Judge Himalaloan to “immediately desist and relinquish” his duty in executing the writ, and instead focus on processing his retirement clearances.

Another sheriff will be chosen through a raffle.

Cebu City Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young said he believes an amicable settlement is the best option for the city.

“We are bound to pay for the lots because there is a court order,” Young said. /By Ador Vincent S. Mayol, Reporter with Chief of Reporters Doris C. Bongcac

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