Remember the human rights violation of cutting off the electricity on the houses of DYRD broadcaster, City Kagawad Jerry Pabe and radio technician Gerado Cajes upon orders by former City Mayor Dan Lim?
The former mayor has reached the Supreme Court in his bid to declare as void a Sandiganbayan resolution denying a motion for re-investigation that uncovered details of what was hitherto kept out from the public, the complainants and their legal counsel.
An eight page petition assailing the Sandiganbayan and the Ombudsman resolutions “as grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack ofÂ jurisdiction” revealed that Lim “has since posted bail for hisÂ temporary liberty” presumably after Criminal Case No. SB-12-CRM-0245Â was filed by the Office of the Ombudsman on October 31, 2012 before the Sandiganbayan.
The Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas) found “probable cause for one count of violation of section 3(e) of RA 3019 as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act” against Lim after the electrical connections of DYRDÂ broadcaster now City Kagawad Pabe andÂ radio technician Cajes were allegedly cut off byÂ the Bohol Light Company Inc. (BLCI) upon orders by Lim.
Lim was serving his last term as city mayor on 2010-2013 when DeputyÂ Ombudsman for the Visayas, Pelagio Apostol signed the recommending approval on July 14, 2011 for the corresponding information be filed against Lim.
The filing of the criminal case before the Sandiganbayan was approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on October 10, 2012 and was filed before the Sandiganbayan on October 31, 2012.
The posting of bail by Lim for his temporary liberty was a well kept secret that was only brought to the open afterÂ Pabe andÂ Cajes received a copy of the petitionÂ filed by Lim before the SC that completely took them and their counsel, Atty. Menedio Thadeus “Emem” Bernido by surprise.
“I only learned that former Mayor Lim is out on bail only upon receipt of the petition on Tuesday, September 22, 2015 from Atty. Doni Piquero who is Lim’s lawyer”, Pabe toldÂ The ChronicleÂ adding “I am not aware if there was a warrant for his arrest issued or Lim posted bail before an arrest warrant could be issued”.
For his part, Atty. Bernido, counsel for Pabe and Cajes expressed surprise over the legal development of the case saying “We were not aware of any arrest order or the filing of a bail bond for Lim’s temporary liberty and the Sandiganbayan’s denial of his motions”.
The families of Pabe and Cajes, who are neighbors Â enduredÂ living without electricity for two years andÂ nine months -Â March 30, 2010 to December, 2012 after Lim withdrew his warranty in their favor which the Ombudsman found “not only whimsical but also unfair” as they were “singled out among the hundreds of residents in Capitol Valley Subdivision”.
Lim, as Tagbilaran City Mayor extended warranty in favor of residents of Capitol Valley Subdivision for their temporary electrical connection with BLCI under a special electrification program while awaiting the approval of their subdivision documents by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).
It was public knowledge that DYRD-AM and the Bohol Chronicle was on the warpath after both the radio station and the newspaper exposed anomalies during Lim’s second and third terms of office and was critical of the city governments manner city affairs were ran.
Pabe, anchor of top rated “Tagbilaran by Night” andÂ radio technician Cajes, both employees of the radio station were subjected to discrimination by Lim citing one of the conditions of the electrification program as grounds for the disconnection of their temporary electric service connections.
Lim raised the conditionÂ “that in case conflict arises between the interest of the City and the applicant, the City Government has the right to revoke or withdraw the temporary permit herein given without prior notice”.
RIGHT TO ELECTRICITY
Less than two months after the Ombudsman found probable cause for the filing of a criminal case against Lim, a resolution from the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Regional Field Office 7 in Cebu City on August 23, 2011 recommended that Lim, City Building Official Teodorico Estoque and BLCI “take immediate concerted action for the restoration of the electrical service connections” of Pabe and Cajes.
The CHR resolution stated that Lim and his co-respondents “miserably failed to answer, controvert and refute categorically the specific allegations of human rights violation”.
“The right to electricity and to be reasonably charged for its consumption has been recognized as a basic right of an individual”.
According to the petition, Lim posted bail for his temporary liberty after he claimed that he receive the information that a criminal case was filed against him by the Ombudsman before the Sandiganbayan “over a year before his receipt of the Resolution of the Ombudsman”.
“Had he received said Resolution of the Ombudsman dated June 15, 2011 promptly, he could have filed his Motion for Reconsideration before the Ombudsman seasonably”, according to Lim.
The petition did not state when Lim filed bail for his temporaryÂ liberty except that a Motion for Reinvestigation which was denied byÂ the anti-graft courtÂ was filed by Lim on November 12, 2012, thirteen days after the caseÂ was elevated to the Sandiganbayan.
Not satisfied, according to the petition, a motion for reconsideration was filed but was also denied by the Sandiganbayan.
Based on the files of Pabe, the Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas) furnished copies of the resolution to Lim and Piquero but the resolution, as Lim claimed in his petition before the SC that he received the resolution more than a year later on November 5, 2012.
Lim sought relief from the Supreme Court (SC) after the Sandiganbayan twice denied his Motion for Reinvestigation alleging that he was denied full preliminary investigation before the Office of the
Ombudsman, Quezon City.
The criminal case filed by Pabe and Cajes against City Building Official Estoque, Engr. Eulogio Signe, General Manager, Engr. Ray Grapa, Operations Manager and Rotelio Lamdagan, Jr., Consumer Services Supervisor, all of BLCI, were dismissed.
The Ombudsman thru Portia Pacquiao-Suson, Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer ll said that “said respondents performed theirÂ acts only pursuant to their duties and were not shown to have been motivated by any ill will or malice against the complainants”.
According to the Constitution, judges and justices are required to personally determine the existence of probable cause apart from the report of the prosecutor or the Ombudsman finding probable cause for the filing of criminal cases.Â (Chito M. Visarra)