THE information that there is no project study on the four projects that Mayor Evelio Leonardia and his company said they would finance with the P1.7 billion loan is unbelievable. If true then they are engaged in “guesstimate” or palagpat. Indeed, how could they have arrived at that huge amount if there was no study? Is there no department in the city for that?

But let us give them the benefit of the doubt that indeed there is. They can correct us by simply publishing at least the perspective of the coliseum that seems to be closest to the heart of Leonardia like the former First Lady Imelda Marcos for that tragic Film Center of the Philippines where workers were allegedly buried alive.

If they cannot show any project study, then we can believe it so and the amount of the loan was figured out from out of the blue. Will they bury Bacolod in debt for personal gain?

Let’s move on to the suit filed last Jan. 18 by former Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus, former Councilor Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue and Antonio Ong, that I cited last week. I will not discuss its merits or demerits. However, the news reports did not reveal what the case is all about and what the complainants claim are the legal infirmities or weaknesses of the loan.

The failure of the news reporters to tell the whole story, in effect, unfairly denied the people the information and deprived them the opportunity to understand the suit and the implications of the loan on their lives. Leonardia’s defenders and media are diverting the real issues exposed in the suit.

I will not comment on the legal aspects – leave that to the court – but only to quote from the case and restate or explain the legalese into layman’s language. The people can then determine the moral issues because judgment on this level rightly belongs to them.

The Civil Case, docketed as number 19-15248, is asking the court to review, prohibit and annul the contract and to temporarily restrain the people named in the suit from implementing it.

The complainants cited six reasons why their petition is meritorious and for the court to grant what they asked. They call this as “cause of action.”

In the first cause of action the complainants say that the resolutions and ordinances approved by the Sanggunian relative to this P1.7 billion loan are “invalid and ineffective” because they were not published in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Code. The Code states that these actions of the SP shall take effect only after they had been published. For Bacolod which is an urbanized city, the ordinances and resolutions of this nature should be published in a local newspaper of general circulation within the city.

They assert that the following resolutions and ordinances were not published: (a) Construction of the Masskara Coliseum with an evacuation center; (b) Development of Progreso Villa Relocation Site; (c) Bacolod City College Site Development and Facilities; and (d) Construction and Rehabilitation of Roads and Bridges.

The complainants argued that “because the resolutions and ordinances are invalid and ineffective, the Term Loan Agreement and the Continuing Deed of Assignment are also non-binding, illegal, ineffective and without force and effect”. In street language, they are, for Bacolod, useless resolutions and ordinances.

Pursuing their argument, they say that because the ordinances and resolutions are invalid, then the actions of Leonardia supposedly authorized by these decisions of the SP are ultra vires. This Latin phrase means that Leonardia acted beyond or outside his authority in negotiating and signing the contract with DBP. Simply put, he had no authority whatsoever to enter into the contract.

In their second cause of action, the three complainants said that the approval of the resolutions and ordinances on this loan “was done with such undue, indecent and anomalous haste that the public was kept in the dark and deprived of its right to examine and be fully informed of the terms and conditions of the loan obligations and its consequences to the finances of Bacolod City, to interpose any objections thereto and to scrutinize all pertinent documents related to the transaction.”

To illustrate what the complainants described as “undue, indecent and anomalous haste”, they listed the “timeline” or sequence of events.

Let’s list the timeline tomorrow.