Tuesday, September 1, 2009

BF homeowners ask Supreme Court: Penalize judge for stopping water project

"By Edu Punay and Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) Updated September 02, 2009 12:00 AM

"MANILA, Philippines - Residents of BF Homes asked the Supreme Court (SC) yesterday to penalize a Las Piñas judge for gross ingnorance of the law in stopping the installation of water pipes in their subdivision.

"Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez joined them in filing the complaint at 10 a.m.

"Officers of the 12,000-strong United BF Homeowners Association Inc. (UBFHAI) said Las Piñas Regional Trial Court Judge Raul Villanueva unjustly issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) and preliminary injunction against the pipe-laying project of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and Maynilad Water Services Corp.

"'Villanueva effectively extended for an indefinite period of time the suffering of the thousand of residents of BF Homes who have been waterless for decades. He committed extreme injustice to the residents because he favored a non-existent private interest over public interest,' the petitioners said.

"The UBFHAI accused Villanueva of violating Republic Act 8975 when he issued a TRO against a government infrastructure project undertaken by MWSS.

"Residents of BF Homes, the largest private subdivision in the country, cutting across the cities of Parañaque, Las Piñas and Muntinlupa, said the SC prohibits lower courts from stopping government infrastructure projects.

“'(The SC) has time and again cautioned judges not to indiscriminately issue injunctions when the claimed irreparable injury of a party is compensable, or when its issuance will cause injury that will far outweigh the benefit it will serve to the party supposed to be protected,' the UBFHAI said.

"Two years ago, UBFHAI sought the assistance of Parañaque Mayor Florencio Bernabe Jr., who asked help from the MWSS, which in turn tapped its western zone concessionaire, Maynilad, to initiate talks with subdivision developer BF Homes Inc. (BFHI) to find a solution to the problem.
"Maynilad rejected BFHI subsidiary Philippine Waterworks and Construction Corp.’s demand to buy water at a low price then resell it to homeowners at rates higher than that paid by residents of subdivisions close to BF Homes.

"Bernabe then implemented City Council Resolution 08-054, which authorized him to exercise police power and allow Maynilad to immediately construct a water system in the subdivision and provide the agency police protection and security in undertaking repair activities.
The BFHI responded by securing a TRO from Villanueva.

"The UBFHAI said Villanueva’s action is tantamount to 'rewarding' BFHI for 'dereliction of duty' by continuously depriving BF Homes residents of potable water, 'a basic human right.'”

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