Osmeña’s petition to stop Carbon market modernization dismissed

THE Regional Trial Court (RTC) has dismissed a petition for injunction filed by Cebu City ex-mayor Tomas Osmeña against the Carbon development project, but the former official said he will refile the case.

Osmeña filed in December 2020 the petition for judicial review and temporary restraining order against the Carbon market modernization developer, Megawide Construction Corp. (MCC), and the Cebu City Government, stressing that the project is “anti-poor.”

He also asked the court for prohibition and mandamus with prayer for a preliminary mandatory and prohibitory injunction against MCC and City Hall officials for their joint-venture agreement to develop the Carbon Public Market District.

Osmeña said earlier that the modernization project is “anti poor” because once the market is developed, big companies and businesses will take over, eliminating marginalized vendors.

The 112-year-old Carbon is the largest and oldest farmer’s market in Cebu.

Cebu City RTC Branch 58 Judge Ma. Lynna Adviento, however, outrightly dismissed Osmeña's petition for its failure to adhere to the rules of civil procedure.

Adviento said in her three-page decision dated January 3, 2023 that the petition has no legal effect on the grounds of technicality in filing the pleadings before the court.

She said the petition was signed by Osmeña’s legal counsel, Benjamin Militar, who was also the one who notarized the verification and certification of non-forum shopping.

Adviento cited two Supreme Court decisions that disallowed legal counsels of the petitioner to be the same person to sign the petition, as well as the verification and certification.

"With the infirmity in the verification, the present petition shall be treated as an unsigned pleading," read a portion of Adviento's decision.

Section 4, Rule 7 of the Rules of Civil Procedure states that a pleading that lacks proper verification shall be treated as an unsigned pleading.

Adviento added that the court has no authority to act on the case at bar.

In a text message sent to SunStar Cebu Wednesday, January 25, Osmeña said he will refile his petition.

He said the issue that led to the dismissal of the case was only a "minor technical error."

The respondents of Osmeña's case are the MCC, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia, City Attorney Eugene Orbita, former City Administrator Floro Casas, City Treasurer Mare Vae Reyes, City Budget Officer Marietta Gumia, and members of the City Council's majority bloc.

Cebu2World (C2W), a subsidiary of the MCC, welcomed the development and hoped that all parties can focus instead on working together for a better Carbon District.

C2W general manager Lydwena Eco said in her statement Wednesday that through the modernization of the Carbon District, better facilities have been given to vendors, while there have been better security, more parking space, wider roads, and less garbage.

"Carbon’s progress is visible. It’s felt by all, from vendor to customer. Why should we stop a project that clearly benefits the majority of Cebuanos? Rather than hold Cebu back, we can do more in support of its progress," said Eco. (IRT)