RTC judge inhibits from handling MCWD case

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THE Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge who favored the reinstatement of three former Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) Board members has decided to inhibit from hearing the petition for injunction that the latter filed against Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella.

In his three-page order issued Monday, April 19, 2021, RTC Cebu City Branch 7 presiding judge James Stewart Ramon Himalaloan inhibited himself from handling the petition for injunction filed by former MCWD Board members Ralph Sevilla, Augustus Pe Jr. and Cecilia Adlawan due to “false accusations” thrown against him by Labella’s camp that he no longer possessed the “cold neutrality and impartiality to continue handling this case even without factual and legal basis.”

“The undersigned Judge contrary to the false accusations and innuendos made by the defendant City Mayor through his counsel in his motion for inhibition whom the undersigned Judge did not expect from a so-called upright person as the said defendant always tries to portray himself to the public, the Judge has performed his judicial duties without favor, bias or prejudice,” Himalaloan said.

A month earlier, the Cebu City Legal Office, which represents Labella, had filed a motion for inhibition against the judge.

Himalaloan was supposed to hear the petition for injunction on Thursday, April 29, but the hearing has now been cancelled due to his inhibition. (JKV)