DOJ dismisses Jawo case; 2 dads mull counter charge PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 08 April 2011 15:35

After the Department of Justice (DOJ) dismissed a complaint filed by Councilor Cesar “Jawo” Jimenez against some public officials including members of the City Council, Councilor Benjamin “Nonong” Guingona III and other members of the majority bloc are mulling a case against Jimenez for physical and moral damages.

“As soon as my legal counsel gathers all the necessary documents, I would really file a case against the person who maligned me and other councilors and who caused my anguish and sleepless nights,”Guingona told newsmen in a press conference called by Mayor Celso Lobregat yesterday at City Hall.

“It is not easy to file a case. It entails expenses but sometimes we have to do that in order to give a lesson especially to somebody who maligned and tainted my name as if we did something anomalous in passing legislative measures that will benefit the Zamboangueños,” Guingona stressed.
Liga ng Mga Barangay President Councilor Abdurahman Nuño has signified his intention to join Guingona in filing the case against Jimenez.

Aside from Guingona and Nuño, Mayor Lobregat said he is also seriously studying a separate criminal case against the councilor from Ayala whom he described as somebody who is fond of filing cases even without basis.

When Jimenez brought to the DOJ the issue on the legality of an ordinance establishing the Paseo del Mar and defining its guidelines, regulations and operations, the councilors who voted in favor of the passage of the said ordinance including Guingona, have made it clear that if ever DOJ will render a decision in favor of the city government of Zamboanga, a case would be filed against Jimenez.

On March 23, 2011, DOJ Secretary Leila De Lima dismissed the case filed by Jimenez against Mayor Lobregat, Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde and some members of the City Council stating that DOJ does not have the authority to act on the issues considering that the ordinance is not a tax or revenue ordinance but a regulatory edict.

In its decision, DOJ stated that the ordinance is not a tax ordinance as its primary policy and objective is to promote tourism in the city through the development of parks and gardens and tourist recreational sites and that the procedures for the enactment of ordinance under the Local Government Code, including those concerning notice and publication requirements were complied with.

It further states that the authority of the Secretary of Justice under Section 187 of the Local Government Code is evidently confined to deciding only questions involving the constitutionality or legality of tax ordinances or revenues measures raised on appeal within 30 days from the effectivity thereof.

In a press statement, Councilor Jimenez said that the DOJ resolution did not touch on the merits of the case claiming that the Plaza del Pilar Ordinance is only a regulatory one.

“Assuming this is true, I can now ask to lower the rental rates and if possible to lease it free of charge to the candle vendors,” Jimenez said.

With the DOJ refusing to render an opinion, Jimenez vowed to pursue the matter and exhaust administrative remedies and probably bring the issue to the Supreme Court.

“The intention when I filed the case questioning the legality of the ordinances was to seek guidance from the DOJ on matters relating to enacting ordinances imposing taxes and fees. The mayor cannot claim victory as the issue was not resolved on the merits of the case,” Jimenez explained.

He clarified that he has not filed any cases yet against any official of the city of Zamboanga. — Jimmy Villaflores