The Sandiganbayan asked former Tagbilaran City Mayor Dan Neri Lim to explain why he ordered the disconnection of electric services in the houses of DYRD broadcaster, now City Councilor Jeremias “Jerry” Pabe and DYRD radio technician Gerardo CajesÂ for two years and nine months.
The case of Pabe and Cajes has moved forward after the Supreme Court (SC) 1st Division dismissed Lim’s petition on December 9, 2015 for the issuance of a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order (TRO) criticizing two Sandiganbayan resolutions denying his motion for reconsideration and reinvestigation.
Lim who is out on bail derisively dismissed Pabe and Cajes complaint before the Ombudsman (OMB) and boasted “it would never reach first base”. Lim also told the SC that “he was the only one charged for a purported offense which he had no participation whatsoever”.
But 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 ofÂ Pabe and Cajes were allegedly cut off by Bohol Light Company Inc. upon orders by Lim.
The thirteen page Ombudsman Resolution on June 15, 2011 stressed that since the electrification was a special program by the city mayor’s office, Lim “should have provided the same equally to everyone who was entitled to it”
The Ombudsman said that the special electrification program was used by Lim as a tool to discriminate against Pabe and Cajes for the reason that DYRD-AM is in conflict with respondent Lim.
It was public knowledge that DYRD-AM and the Bohol Chronicle were on the warpath after both the radio station and the newspaper exposed anomalies during Lim’s second and third term of office and was critical of the city governments manner city affairs were ran.
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.
However, the criminal case 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 throughÂ Portia Pacquiao-Suson, Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer ll said that “said respondents performed their acts only pursuant to their duties and were not shown to have been motivated by any ill will or malice against the complainants”.
The families of Pabe and Cajes who are neighbors at Capitol Valley Subdivision, Phase ll in Barangay Dao, Tagbilaran City suffered the loss of electricity for two years and nine months – March 30, 2010 to December, 2012 after Lim withdrew his warranty in their favor.
Pabe, anchor of DYRD’s top rated “Tagbilaran by Night” and radio technician Cajes, both employees of the radio station alleged that they were subjected to discrimination among the hundred of residents of Capitol Valley by Lim citing one of the conditions of the electrification program as grounds for the disconnection of their temporary electric service connections.
The posting of bail by Lim for his temporary liberty was a well kept secret that was only brought to the open after Pabe and Cajes received a copy of the petition filed by Lim before the Supreme Court (SC) that completely took them and their counsel, Atty. Meinardo Bernido by surprise.
Lim sought relief from the 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.
But the SC disagreed with Lim’s petition “for failure of petitioner to sufficiently show that any grave abuse of discretion was committed by the Sandiganbayan in rendering the challenged resolutions”.
The SC backed the assailed Sandiganbayan resolutions as “in accord with the facts and the applicable law and jurisprudence”.
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.
Pabe and Cajes also filed before the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Regional Field Office 7 a complaint for violation of economic, social and cultural rights against Lim, Estoque, Signe, Grapa and Lamdagan, Jr.
An eight page resolution from the CHR 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 right to electricity and to be reasonably charged for its consumption has been recognized as a basic right of an individual”.
The CHR pointed out that Lim, in withdrawing the warranty was arbitrary as Pabe and Cajes were employees of DYRD, “which was a critic to Lim during the last election campaign period”.
According to the resolution, the withdrawal by Lim of the warranty was “politically motivated, arbitrary, unjust and violative of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).
Lim, as Tagbilaran City Mayor extended warranty in favor of residents of Capitol Valley Subdivision for their temporary electrical connection withÂ BLCI under a special electrification program while awaiting the approval of their subdivision documents by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).
Lim raised the condition in the warranty “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”.
Lim also claimed that he was “unaware of the filing of the complaint until November 5, 2012 when he received a copy of the resolution from the OMB dated June 15, 2011”.
Pabe ran for city councilor in the May 2013 elections under the National Unity Party (NUP) of Mayor John Geesnell “Baba” Yap and landed 5th among a field of 32 candidates.
Arraignment proceedings which Lim in his petition asked for it’s suspension will now be set by the Sandiganbayan 1st Division. (Chito M. Visarra)