Councilor Aurora Henson said members of the Caloocan City Council are willing to go behind bars over a P50-million property case involving the administration of then Mayor Reynaldo Malonzo in 1996 that has ballooned to more than P134 million.
“We are prepared to go to jail for what is right and just,” she said in Pilipino even as City legal officer Michael Arthur Camiña filed an Omnibus Motion over an impending warrant of arrest from the regional trial court Branch 125 against Vice Mayor Maca Asistio III, the 12 councilors and a barangay chairman named as respondents in the suit.
The case stemmed from alleged non payment of the property owned by a private firm, Recom Realty Corp., that the city government acquired on August 2,1996 for a socialized housing project.
In its disclosure, Recom Realty Corp. is unrelated to former mayor Enrico Echiverri.
Also included in the warrant are District 1 Councilors Karina Teh, Dean Asistio, Susan Punzalan, Marilou Nubla, Jay Afrika and District 2 Councilors Carol Cunanan, Rose Mercado, Roberto Samson, Chito Abel, Tolentino Bagus, Allen Aruelo along with Liga ng mga Barangay Chairman Dale Malapitan.
“We are ready to pay, but as of now the court has no decision yet,” Teh said in Pilipino. “It appears it is hastily being done, we are being rushed to pay the said property.”
The records of the case showed that the city government under Malonzo acquired a 6,901-square-meter lot in Barangay 33, Zone 3, Maypajo.
After the city government paid P2.4 million on Aug. 25, 1998 then RTC Judge Modesto Juanson issued a writ of possession in its favor.
On June 23, 2003 the court set just compensation at P7,208 per square meter and issued an order of expropriation on Dec. 22, 2003 for P49,735,200.
But the city government on Feb. 2, 2004 appealed saying the method in determining the appraised value of the lot should have been used instead.
After Judge Dionisio Sison took over in 2009, other cases arose in 2013, including a direct contempt against the councilors over nonpayment of the principal plus interest amounting to P134,600,041.13, court records showed.
As of Oct. 21, 2014, Carmina said the amount due and payable should be P101,811,105.17.