SC Denies Jadewell Reconsideration; Finalizes Ruling on Cases
VOL. XVIII NO. 4 (Nov 1-7, 2014)
BAGUIO CITY – The Supreme Court declared as final its ruling on the cases involving Jadewell Systems Parking Corporation as it denied with finality the motion for partial reconsideration filed by the parking firm over the high court’s April 23, 2014 decision dismissing its contempt charges against city officials.
“Acting on the motion of (Jadewell) as petitioner in G. R. No.s 163052, 164107, 165564, 172216, 173043 and 174879 for partial reconsideration of the decision dated April 23, 2014, and considering that the basic issues have already been passed upon and that there is no substantial argument to warrant a modification of this Court’s decision, the Court further resolves to deny reconsideration with finality,” the court’s first division ruled in a notice issued by division clerk of court Edgar Aricheta dated July 21, 2014. “No further pleadings or motions shall be entertained herein.”
In the April 23 decision, the high tribunal affirmed the Court of Appeals ruling dated July 7, 2003 invalidating the city council’s rescission of the memorandum of agreement that authorized Jadewell’s operation in the city in 2001.
The Court however pointed out that there was not enough evidence on the extent of Jadewell’s violations of the contract to prove whether or not the unilateral rescission of the contract was in order.
The Court moreover did not award any damage in favor of the parking firm.
“While Jadewell prays for damages against the public respondent, and while ordinarily we could grant the same, the context of this case prevents us from giving any form of recompense to Jadewell even if the rescission of the MOA did not follow the required legal procedure. This is because it would be appalling to grant Jadewell any award of damages, considering (1) it installed only 14 out of the apparently 100 contemplated parking meters; (2) its employees, private citizens who did not possess any authority from the LTO (Land Transportation Office), were manually collecting parking fees from the public, and (3) it did not, apparently properly remit any significant amount of money to the City of Baguio,” the Court said.
“These three facts are uncontested, these omissions are offensive to the concept of public service that the residents of Baguio were promised through Jadewell. From its ambiguous responses.., it is clear that Jadewell does not appear to be an investor who has lost in its investments in the Baguio City project. Thus, we do not award any damages to Jadewell.”
In the same ruling, the Court denied the petition of Jadewell for certiorari, prohibition and madamus as well as its prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction. Yaranon’s petition for review on certiorari relative to his suspension from office in 2006 was also denied for being moot and academic.
Jadewell’s latest motion centered on its petitions for indirect contempt against city officials including then mayors Bernardo Vergara, Braulio Yaranon and Reinaldo Bautista Jr. over various rulings they issued stopping the parking firm’s operation in the city in from 2004 to 2006.
The firm asked for the reversal of the court’s dismissal of the said cases “in the light of the fact that the respondent public officials in the said cases went beyond the pale of their positions and in fact failed to abide with that the writ of preliminary injunction issued by the Honorable Court intended.”
In the April 23 decision, the high tribunal dismissed Jadewell’s petitions to cite the three former mayors, former vice mayor Betty Lourdes Tabanda, members of the then city council and Judge Fernando Vil Pamintuan for indirect contempt and to disbar city officials who are lawyers by profession for lack of merit.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan said the court’s decision albeit affirming the contract rescinded by the city, did not authorize the parking firm to resume operation in the city.
Acting city legal officer Melchor Carlos Rabanes also opined that what the Court nullified was only the first act of rescission by the city council done on February 19, 2002 as the five-year guarantee against rescission stipulated in the contract had not lapsed yet at that time but the second act of rescission done in 2006 was considered valid because it was beyond the guarantee period.
Rabanes said that when the court dismissed the contempt charges as a result of the said second act of rescission, it follows that the court is upholding the validity of the second rescission. Jadewell’s operations in the city was stopped in November, 2006 after the city council repealed Ordinance No. 003-2000 for the privatization and administration of on-street parking in the city and rescinded the MOA that authorized its operation in 2001.
The city council first attempted to rescind the contract in 2002 resulting to Jadewell’s filing of the case against the city government questioning the validity of the rescission.
The Regional Trial Court on October 8, 2002 declared the city council’s move as unlawful and this was sustained by the Court of Appeals on July 7, 2003.
The main case spawned a bevy of cases, one of which resulted to the suspension of former mayor Yaranon in 2006.
Jadewell’s contract with the city government expired in 2012./A Refuerzo