THE arraignment of the two libel cases filed against me by Miguel Osmeña, son of “has-been” mayor Tomas Osmeña, really pushed through on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, at the sala of Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 5 Judge Ricky Jones Macabaya. Assisted by my lawyer, Joan Baron of the JP Garcia Law office, I entered a “not guilty” plea. Of course. The cases stemmed from my columns in SunStar Cebu and SunStar Superbalita regarding the alleged illegal butane canister manufacturing business. Two other cyber libel cases of the same questioned articles were earlier dismissed by RTC Branch 11 Judge Ramon Daomilas citing “double jeopardy.”
I am very sorry that because of the “sub judice rule (Latin word for under a judge),” I can no longer expound on the merit of the cases, especially since I am the one directly involved as I might be cited for contempt of court. I am already under the jurisdiction of the court after the arraignment. The cases will pass through a mediation panel in April and if it fails, another judicial mediation in June before a full-blown trial. All I can say, I hope the truth and justice will prevail.
One of President Rodrigo Duterte’s concerns during his recent visit here during the Sinulog Grand Parade on Jan. 19 was the metro’s “horrendous” traffic problem. He wants it solved by putting up more infrastructure projects upward, especially a mass transport system. Although he did not mention anything specific, he is apparently referring to the Light Rail Transit (LRT) like the one in Metro Manila. He promised to voluntarily look for funds for the said projects and at the same time urged our political leaders to stop quarreling and to put their acts together to solve the traffic mess in Cebu. The chief executive want these fast-tracked.
But on his own initiative, Cebu City North District Rep. Raul del Mar also wants to help solve the worsening traffic situation in Cebu in line with the call of the President. Del Mar announced that P3.02 billion worth of projects, mostly infrastructure to help ease the traffic condition, will be implemented in the city, especially in his district this year.
These multi-billion projects include skyways and tunnel. These kind of infrastructures are more viable and feasible than widening roads because the government will no longer acquire road right-of-way. If we go upward, as the President suggested, we will no longer acquire road right-of-way. The same thing with tunnels because there is a law that if we excavate 50 meters deep underground, the owner of the surface lot can no longer demand payment, del Mar said.
The proposed skyways and tunnel will traverse Gorordo Ave. to S. Osmeña St. at the North Reclamation Area, passing through Salinas Drive and Juan Luna St. The other one will traverse F. Sotto (near the Iglesia ni Cristo Church) through Archbishop Reyes st., then to Gov. Cuenco all the way to Talamban. The other one will be at Cardinal Rosales at the Cebu Business Park and F. Cabahug in Mabolo. Del Mar was responsible for the construction of various flyovers in the city that one way or the other helped ease traffic congestion.
Del Mar will also revive the proposed construction of a diversion road that will run parallel to Escario St., from Lahug to Guadalupe in the south. He envisioned this a long time ago with then south district representative now Cebu City Councilor Antonio Cuenco. If accomplished, the travel time from the city’s north to the south will be shortened as you will no longer pass Escario St., one of the busiest street in the city’s uptown area.
Del Mar also said he is refilling an old bill providing for an LRT and a Metro Rail Transit (Monorail) as a form of mass transport system. Sus, tiaw nimo kaniadto pa man diay ning mass transport system apan bisan anino wala gyuy na-accomplish.
Even Cebu First District Rep. Eduardo Gullas filed a bill a long time ago for the operation of an LRT that would connect Talisay City to Consolacion. But it fizzled out after “has-been” mayor Tomas Osmeña blocked his proposal, saying Gullas’ LRT could pass through Cebu City. This, following their quarrel over the ownership of a portion of the South Road Properties at the boundary of Cebu City and Talisay City when Tomas accused Gullas of land grabbing.
Maayo unta ug matuman ning tanan sa labing madaling panahon.