Lambino, Baniqued clash on Magic deal

August 10, 2009 at 3:35 pm Leave a comment


magicBy Mortz C. Ortigoza

MALASIQUI – Critics of Mayor Armando Domantay and the Sanggunian Bayan members of this town have finally crossed path with their lawyer when they guested in a media forum in Dagupan City.

Former Malasiqui Mayor Oscar Lambino and whistle-blower Mariano Armas tangled with provincial legal officer Geraldine Baniqued on legal matters and ethics at the Kapihan sa Lenox in Dagupan City.

Lambino charged Baniqued of “wrongfully” counseling for an anomalous lot conversion that the latter legally interpreted in year 2004 as defective when she was then the provincial attorney.

Lambino, who was the vice governor then, remembered that he and the members of the provincial board remanded Municipal Ordinance No. 005-2003 to the Sanggunian Bayan of Malasiqui upon the recommendation of Baniqued, who said it lacked the necessary two-third votes.

“Out of ethics and delicadeza she should not have accepted this anomalous case. She gave legal opinion to a contract that is defective. Nakakahiya! (It’s shameful!),” Lambino hissed.

Baniqued refuted Lambino’s assertions saying that she could not refuse to counsel any local government units since she is the legal officer of the province.

“I was duty bound to represent them (LGUs) as I’m also guided by the lawyer’s Cannon of Ethics,” Baniqued said.

She narrated that when she was the legal attorney of former governor Victor Agbayani, she defended a mayor who was not an ally of the governor.

She said that case was so unpopular among the vendors of that town but she went with it because she was the provincial lawyer.

“LGUs can not be represented by private lawyers except on some circumstances,” she added.
Baniqued interjected also to the accusation of Lambino that she is “lawyering” to the said case.

“I disagree! Lawyering is like advocating. I am representing them as the public counsel for Malasiqui,” she said.

A resident of this town, Mario Armas, who discovered the said anomalous transaction said that this case commenced when he wrote Vice Mayor Mariano Espinosa to furnish him copies of the resolution and other documents that the SB passed empowering Domantay to enter a contract with Magic Group of Companies to lease for 40 years the lot.

“But the SB did not furnish me copies. Thus, I used the photocopies of my letters as exhibits to my injunction case against those officials at the Regional Trial Court in San Carlos City,” he emphatically and loudly explained to the wide eyed media men.

He added that whatever justification Domantay gives, the contract was void from the beginning since the 2/3 votes required by Section 21 of the Local Government Code (Republic Act 7160) was not met to convert the lot from public to commercial use.

The law says that in case of permanent closure, such ordinance must be approved by at least two-thirds (2/3) of all the members of the Sanggunian, and when necessary, an adequate substitute of the public facility that is subject to closure is provided.

“They should get seven votes, but was able to get five votes” Armas harangued.
Lambino said Domantay was mocking the law as he was using an invalid ordinance.

But Domantay in a chance encounter with media men at the feeding program by Abono Party List in Barangay San Julian here denied the accusation of the former vice governor that he made a mockery of the law.

“My legal basis when I entered into a contract with Magic Groups of Companies was the resolution empowering me to negotiate and enter into a contract with Magic Group of Companies. It was signed by nine councilors and the vice mayor that I eventually approved,” Domantay explained.

Resolution No. 002-2009 was approved by the SB last January 26, 2009.

Domantay pooh-poohed the criticisms of Lambino and Armas as he did not see Ordinance No. 005-2003 the duo was acrimoniously talking about.

“The ordinance they are talking about is out of the picture,” he added

Resolution No.002-2009 is this town’s Annual Investment Plan of 2009.

Entry filed under: News.

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