Mayor De Castro, bank manager and 8 others facing civil suit

Bulan Mayor Helen De Castro. PHOTO BY BICOLTODAY.COM
Bulan Mayor Helen De Castro. PHOTO BY BICOLTODAY.COM

By Felix ‘Boy’ Espineda, Jr.

SORSOGON CITY ( – In a move to prevent possible waste of public funds, a tax payer’s suit for declaratory relief, damages with application for injunction and temporary restraining order was filed against Bulan town Mayor Helen de Castro, Postal Bank Sorsogon branch head Emelda Navarro and eight others incumbent members of the Sanggunian Bayan of Bulan at RTC Branch 65 here.

The complainant’s cause of action as taxpayers is to stop the release of the fifteen million (Php 15,000,000.00) pesos contracted loan from Postal Bank Sorsogon branch for its failure to secure a concessional interest rate lower than the prevailing interest rates set by the Central Bank’s standard reference rate in violation of Article 395(C) of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Local Government Code, R.A, 7160. It further question the failure of Mayor de Castro and her co-accused, the proposal to borrow money from the said bank, it also violated Section 447(2), sub-paragraph (iii) of R.A. 7160.

The three complainant all taxpayers, Romeo Valeriano, Andres Porras and Antonio Boncan argued in their pleadings to the Court that respondent(s) did not include the Municipal Development Council primarily tasked to formulate development plan and investment programs of a locality which will be funded thru a loan and shall be paid out of the 20% development fund and did not participate in the preparation of the supplemental annual investment plan but such responsibility was usurped by the Sangguniang Bayan. With the action, the eight members of the council who favorably acted on the proposed loan are Ronaldo Gocoyo, Guillermo de Castro, Jr., Ronel Gigantone, Simplicio Gerona, Renz Aler Guelas, Patricia Guran, Luis Delmonte and Excel Zuniga were included as respondent.

When asked to comment by, municipal administrator Luis De Castro, Jr. has this to say, “it is a legal matter” on appropriate time the mayor’s legal team will answer.

The municipal information officer when reached to comment did not answer our call.

The order of Judge Adolfo Fajardo of Branch 65 for the hearing of the TRO was set November 12, 2:00 p.m. enjoining complainant to post a one hundred thousand  (Php100,000.00) pesos bond which was posted Friday last week. [With reports from Angel Ayala/]

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