Court Judge in Bohol Under Attacks

Editorial, Bohol Chronicle

The death of democracy begins the day Government does not function.

That is when the Executive does not govern, the legislators do not make laws and judges do not act on cases. Democracy thrives when all three do their sworn duties.

The class suit for the nullification of the City Square contract between the City Government and the TBCRDC and the issuance of a TRO over what is "disadvantageous to government" was dropped by four RTC judges like a "hot potato".

But one must note that a recent clear precedent of a "sweetheart deal" and "grossly disadvantageous to the government" case later voided by the Supreme Court (even after the terminal was partially standing) was the multi-billion contract for the NAIA Terminal and the ill-fated PIATCO.Government infrastructure, is therefore, not exempt.

Thus what one judge, RTC Branch I Teofilo Baluma ,did in accepting the case was to perform his sworn duty" to dispose this case within the level of the law and available trends or jurisprudence, not influenced by peripheral issues for judges are placed in their posts and privileged to wear the robe to apply the law even if the heavens fall."

The City Mayor, top honcho of City Hall, though withdrawing the plea for inhibition of Baluma berated the Presiding Judge in a letter and through the radio airwaves that his order was full of "conjectures, bias and baseless allegations."

The City Mayor earlier had an entaglement with Judge Baluma in 2006 as a Family Court judge where the "top honcho" seeking aide of the IBP then wanted the Supreme Court to remove Baluma. The Supreme Court stood behind Baluma and labeled his depositions to be above board.

That Judge Baluma since 2006 had not claimed his City Hall honoraria is but proper (as Judge Ingles of Cebu did)  in order to preserve the independence of the judicary which was obviously being pressured by a co-equal branch: The Executive represented by the City Mayor.

That Judge Baluma over the radio declared he will not inhibit himself if the City Square was assigned to him was a mere declaration of a judge stating to stand by his prime duty-to try cases. What is awfully wrong with that?

But the vehemence of the language and the threats that the mayor hurled unstatesmanly at the venerable judge is prototype of the kind of City Mayor the city has.It is the same sick pattern he applies when castigating the Chronicle and Station DYRD when we do not agree with his confused and confusing policies and pronouncements.

Now he is clearly stamping his Big Foot , unwanted as it is, in the Halls of Justice -hinting that indeed he will not brook any opposition. That is why the public is watching eagerly whether the Presiding Judge Branch I will wilt under the "a'la Nazi blitzkreig" offensive of the beleaguered City Mayor who is now facing one controversy after another.

There are two kinds of inhibition under the Law: compulsory and voluntary  Judge Baluma feels that he is not ruled by either in accepting the case. The whole public therefore is watching that Judge Teofilo Baluma in exercising his discretion - will not erode people's faith in the courts of justice.

In legal matters, the judge rules. Media is the Fourth Estate. Neither should bend to the importunings of an overbearing Executive. He is no emperor of the Judiciary or the Media. 

Carnapping in Bohol Philippines

A suspected bigtime carnapper entrapped by the city police inside the house of a city official is now facing charges at the City Prosecutor's Office.

Charges of carnapping and estafa were filed against suspect John Glen Cadampog, 32, a resident of J.A. Clarin Street , this city, by victims that included City Kag. Edgar Bompat.

Cadampog took at least eight vehicles from four victims. The suspect hired the vehicles for a fee but was actually hunting for unsuspecting buyers.

A total of P700,000 was owed by Cadampog to the vehicle owners including a Kia Rio and a multicab that were already sold to different buyers, police said.

The suspected carnapper was caught in an entrapment operation at the residence of Kag. Bompat along J.A. Clarin St. last Wednesday.

After he was brought to the City Police Station, several victims surfaced including Paterna Taray, Rodrigo Balaba and Nilo Palwa of Balilihan town.

According to Bompat, who owns a fleet of vans and cars for rent, the suspect rented his Mazda and Besta vans for 12 days with an unpaid bill of P39,000.

Taray's multicab was discovered sold in Cebu by the suspect who still owes her P70,000 while Palwa rented out to the suspect his Kia Rio at P1,800 per day since October last year.

It was later known that Palwa's car was sold to Bernardo Alcala, brother of Panglao Mayor Benedicto Alcala, and then afterward sold to Panglao Kag. Benjie Arcamo.

Cadampog also rented three vehicles of Balaba – a Toyota Altis, Nissan Sentra and Toyota Vios. Balaba filed a separate complaint for carnapping at the City Prosecutor's Office.

The suspect is presently detained at the City lock-up jail. - source: Bohol Chronicle

PROCESS Team in Bohol

      The municipal officials of Catigbian hosted an Ecotourism Familiarization Tour for PROCESS-Bohol staff Monday last week.

      The half-day activity on January 19 was part of the local government unit's staff development agenda, aiming to know the best practices, programs and services of the once sleepy town of Catigbian.

      The 19-man team led by PROCESS-Bohol Executive Director Emie Roslinda paid a courtesy call to Mayor Roberto Salinas.

      Then, they toured the municipal hall and its premises, and observed the operation at the Catigbian Livestock Auction Center and the Public Market.

      The LGU's information office gave a PowerPoint presentation on the best practices, programs and services of the municipality at the conference hall, leading to lengthy discussions and exchange of ideas.

      "We have chosen Catigbian as our destination not because this is our partner in the implementation of various PROCESS-facilitated projects, but because we want to learn how the then sleeping LGU became an emerging economic tiger in the Province of Bohol, that we are very proud of. We would like also to experience your Dagook Falls Adventure and the 'pick-and-pay' at your demo farm," Roslinda said.

      For his part, Mayor Salinas emphasized in his message that "LGU-Catigbian is managed like a corporation, but we are not after of the green box. What we are after of is the effective delivery of services to the public, say for example, potable water. For a local government unit to operate a waterworks system, the motive is not profit, but more of the service to the people".

      At around lunchtime, PROCESS-Bohol staff had a short glimpse of the newly constructed P14-million Municipal Health Center with a five-bed lying-in facility that surprised them most.

      The proposed area for Dagook Falls Adventure was the last stop of the group where they enjoyed the hanging bridge escapade. - source: Sunday Post