Battle of the bridge, redux
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The Manila Times
City Ordinance 715-06 The city was included as a respondent to the case because it was the one that, on July 24, 2007, enacted City Ordinance 715-06, Series of 2006. The ordinance designated specific public and private roads which formed the “friendship route,” with the objective of easing and decongesting the traffic flow along the main thoroughfares of Las Piñas City. Ten streets within BFRV were specified in Paragraph 18, Section 2 of the ordinance, and Onelia Jose Street is one of those streets. Take note that in 2007, Onelia Jose Street terminated at the perimeter wall of BFRV fronting the “future” Cavite Bridge. The old board of the BFRVHAI opened this perimeter wall, erected a guard outpost and allowed access to the Cavite Bridge when it was constructed a couple of years ago. Surprisingly, the relief prayed for by the petitioners was all directed at the BFRVHAI and none against the City of Las Piñas. In fact, Villar should have asked the court to compel Las Piñas City to amend City Ordinance 715-06, Series of 2006 to allow the opening of a new gate at the end of Onelia Jose Street and provide unimpeded access to the Cavite Bridge. This could have been an easier approach since the city mayor, the vice mayor and the top city councilor are all her close relatives. However, the amendment cannot be legally done by the city council because the main purpose of the “friendship route” is to ease and decongest the traffic flow along the main thoroughfares of Las Piñas City, not including areas outside of it, like Bacoor, Cavite. The acting presiding judge of RTC Branch 197 actually missed this point when he rendered the order dated Sept. 29, 2022, in this manner: “Again, the issue here is actually whether respondents have complied with the local ordinances issued by the Local Government of Las Piñas City relative to the Friendship Route when it created and implemented the new traffic scheme which effectively disallowed valid ‘Friendship Sticker’ holders entry and exit along Onelia Jose Street.” The new board was actually complying with the said local ordinance when it closed the access point which the old board “illegally” opened in contravention of the same ordinance. Villar’s strategy here is to indirectly do what cannot be done directly — a clear violation of an established legal doctrine. “What cannot be legally done directly cannot be done indirectly. This rule is basic and, to a reasonable mind, does not need explanation. Indeed, if acts that cannot be legally done directly can be done indirectly, then all laws would be illusory. (GR No. 166471, 2011).” I wrote before: “One lingering question that comes to mind is whether or not BFRVHAI is ready to square off with Senator Villar before a court of law. The homeowners associations normally ultimately succumb in the end and toe the line of the powerful politicians.” After a lengthy talk with a couple of BFRVHAI officers on Wednesday, and considering their “reserved ammunition,” I think they are more than ready to square off with Senator Villar.