December 18, 2011

P900-M San Pablo loan stopped

SAN PEDRO, Laguna—The Court of Appeals has issued a writ of preliminary injunction that indefinitely suspends the release of the P900 million that the city government of San Pablo was borrowing from a private bank.
The injunction, issued on Wednesday, came out after the 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO) earlier issued by the CA expired on Dec. 10.
In a phone interview on Friday, lawyer Job Gesmundo said the injunction now prevented the city government and the Philippine Veterans’ Bank (PVB) from pursuing the loan transaction until the CA decides on the validity of the city ordinance that approved the P900 million loan.
Gesmundo is the legal counsel of a group of San Pablo taxpayers that opposed the loan deal, which the city government in June entered into with the PVB.
The city government said the amount would be used for the following projects and obligations: P140 million to pay for a previous loan, P200 million each for a multipurpose convention center and a tourism and economic center, P180 million to upgrade a city college, P130 million for a food-and-transport terminal and P50 million to buy the site of a proposed convention center.
The taxpayers, backed by Church groups, however, claimed that the projects did not go through feasibility studies and public consultation. They also expressed fear that the money would simply go to waste, if not the pockets of top city officials.
In August, the Bureau of Local Government Finance under the Department of Finance certified that the loan amount exceeded the maximum borrowing capacity of San Pablo City, which is only P500 million.
City Councilor Edgardo Adajar, a proponent of the loan deal, said the city government was now considering elevating the case to the Supreme Court.

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