BSL’s arrogance and hubris
By Ermin Garcia Jr.
WHAT is it about Dagupan Mayor Benjie Lim that makes him continue to ignore and flout both the judicial system and established rules and systems for good governance? Is he ignorant of the laws? I don’t think so. Methinks it’s plain arrogance and hubris to show that he can get away with anything after a supposedly string of successful plotting against the system in the face of an indifferent community (or so he thinks)!
The sale of the MC Adore hotel properties is his most recent blatant and brazen attempt yet at demonstrating that he is above the law and everyone else.
Like always, Mr. Lim employed the same template, initially pulling the wool over the city’s eyes by coopting majority of the members of the city council to bend the rules to suit his agenda. But unlike his other ventures in the past, this time he was not content waiting for the results of the despicable acts of the Judas 9. He upped the ante and did the unthinkable by taunting and thumbing his nose at Judge Emma Torio who has since acquired jurisdiction over the protested impending sale of MC Adore. He proceeded with the bidding even after an earlier statement that he would respect the court’s decision that issued a temporary restraining order and set a hearing date for the petition for the issuance of a preliminary injunction!
Mr. Lim, who recently suffered a major legal setback in pursuit of his business interests in Malasiqui, a scenario he never thought possible, must have felt that the only way to deal with the country’s judicial system that’s standing in his way is to preempt it. And preempt Judge Torio’s hearings, he did!
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As things appear today, Mr. Lim not only plotted to challenge her judicial authority by proceeding with the bidding regardless of her order to hear the case, but was obviously out to humiliate her.
Mr. Lim was quoted by his office as having said: “It is moot and academic. The bidding has been done. The award notice has been given [to the winning bidder]. And the deed of sale was already processed. It was already paid….As far as I am concerned, it has been done, it does not matter (the injunction order). It won’t affect what has already come to pass!” Duh?
Was it his intention to picture Judge Torio as somebody inutile, stupid and gutless who won’t dare stand up to him? That there’s nothing she could do about it? Is that a proposition of son “lawyer” Brian and other lawyers around him? No wonder, Magic Group lost its case in Malasiqui.
Gee, a high school kid watching CSI TV series (I didn’t mean VM Belen’s CSI) knows that seeing a dead body doesn’t mean justice can no longer be had, that no one can already be held accountable for a criminal act. On the contrary, the kid knows it’s elementary in law to hold people who committed a crime accountable!
His bitter legal lesson in the hands of the Court of Appeals alone tells him that his arrogance will not save him and the Judas 9 from criminal liabilities. Cebu’s Gwen Garcia has learned this herself the hard way in a similar land deal.
Arrogance or hubris, that surely was Mr. Lim’s dumbest undoing yet - to insult a judge to her face and trample on established judicial rules and protocol.
Mr. Lim, you might not respect Judge Torio’s capabilities as a person and as a judge, but she is still the judge. Not a good thing to mess with a judge out to leave a legacy!
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Unlike Mr. Lim’s “lawyer”-son, I cannot pretend to know the full legal consequences of Mr. Lim’s irrational moves but my little understanding of the law points to a possible string of cases against him. There is possibly a contempt charge, an indictment by the Ombudsman and a trial before the Sandiganbayan for subverting a judge’s ruling and failure to comply with the rules of bidding. (The city hall failed to publish another bidding notice as required by law after the earlier announced date was cancelled).
From where I sit, it also looks like the traitorous bunch of Judas 9, namely Councilors Brian Lim, Red Erfe-Mejia, Guillermo Vallejos, Chester Gonzales, Jesus Canto, Alvin Coquia, Dada Manaois-Reyna Luis Samson Jr. and Karlos Reyna, will suffer the same fate as Mayor Lim.
First, they convened for a special session knowing there was no emergency requiring such a meeting except to adopt a resolution granting Mr. Lim the authority to negotiate and sell the MC Adore and the city’s property in Calasiao, without the express consent of the vice mayor as presiding officer.
Then even after the DILG gave the opinion that their special meeting was illegal and public opinion was already against the resolution, they still attempted to legitimize their boo-boo by having their illegal act confirmed during a regular session. They enthusiastically embraced the legal proposition of “lawyer” Brian that something illegal and irregular can always be made to appear legally correct. And they did just that without thinking (the expected auto response for their “P1.5-M tip”). (But they will soon face the dilemma of having made to return the “P1.5-M tip” in the event the “successful bidding” is voided by the court).
Then, they accepted the “appraised value” of the property using the zonal value, not the market value, as benchmark for the minimum bid.
All these lend to the claim of the city hall that the MC Adore sale was, indeed, a “sellout”! (Read our editorial).
FYI: The unrepentant Judas 9 members eyeing reelection under the MadilLIM & MakuLIMLIM slate are Erfe-Mejia, Canto, Coquia and Vallejos.
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FIESTA FUND NOT A PERSONAL FUND. To date, we have not heard of any intention on the part of my relative, Councilor Red Erfe-Mejia, as Hermano Mayor of the 2012 city fiesta, to report his expenses and all monies collected in his name for the 15-day festivities. I warn my relative that keeping the city’s money for himself can certainly lead to his criminal prosecution.
At the same time, City Auditor Ofelia Celi, who I heard will be replaced soon, is hereby warned that failure to report anew the revenues earned from the 2012 fiesta will add to the basis of an administrative complaint being contemplated against her. As it is, she already owes the city an explanation why she never made Mr. Lim account for all the earnings from the fiestas and Bangus Festivals under his watch.
Tuwid na daan beckons!