BAGUIO CITY (Jan. 24) — The Baguio prosecutor’s office filed charges against Jadewell management for attacking a city councilor.
Businessman Rogelio Tan, owner of the Jadewell Parking System that was booted out of Baguio City on the first week of January, is now formally charged by the Baguio prosecutor’s office for attacking City Councilor Jose Molintas last month.
Assistant City Fiscal Conrado Catral found probable cause “for direct assault upon a person in authority” when Tan accordingly grabbed Molintas and tore his shirt when the latter and other Baguio citizens effected a “valid citizen’s arrest” against the businessman.
Molintas effected citizen’s arrest on the basis that Jadewell no longer had legal ground to levy parking fees after the pay parking ordinance and the Jadewell-local government MOA were both junked by the city council last year.
On January 4, acting Mayor Reinaldo Bautista Jr. ordered the closure of Jadewell offices at the Ganza parking lot.
Castral also found probable cause in the charges leveled against Tan, other Jadewell officials and parking attendants by Molintas and other irate Baguio motorists. He also favored Molintas as a person in authority being the chairman of the city council’s committee on public order and safety, human rights and justice.
The assistant city prosecutor ruled that Tan “employed reasonable force or resisted the person of Councilor Molintas” citing their viewing of video footages by local television networks here of the December 4, 2006 .
“In fact, we saw how Councilor Molintas’ shirt was dragged almost to smithereens by the spouses Tan.”
Catral’s ruling concurred by City Prosecutor Benedicto Carantes also dropped charges of unlawful arrest, grave coercion, slander and intriguing against honor against Molintas, lawyer George Dumawing, then acting president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Baguio Benguet and two other motorists who arrested Tan.
“The problem with counter-charges, is that in a long line of decisions rendered by the Supreme Court, they are merely being in the nature of an afterthought, as they turn out, like these cases, to be contrived, or worse, fabricated,” he explained.
“But even if it was to be ruled according to merit, Molintas and other citizens had lawfully arrested Tan,” Castral said.
The city prosecutor’s office also ruled that they are not restrained by the courts into acting upon any criminal charges against Jadewell even if the pay parking firm would assert temporary restraining orders and the writs of injunction issued by the Supreme Court on the Jadewell cases.
Catral had also filed charges against Jadewell management for violating the city’s tax ordinance.
Jadewell, the assistant prosecutor said, is criminally liable for collecting parking fees without securing a business permit as required under City Tax Ordinance No. 2000-001.
In 2005, suspended Mayor Braulio Yaranon did not allow Jadewell to conduct business in the city saying that Jadewell’s MOA with the city is void at the outset, arguing that city streets are beyond the commerce of man.
Yaranon’s arguments, however, were contested by Jadewell management that led to charges against the mayor resulting in his two six-month suspension.
Tan posted a P10,000 bail. # Ace Alegre for NORDIS