Twelve lotto operators in Dumaguete City have petitioned a local court to declare as null and void Negros Oriental Provincial Ordinance 4-1996, that regulates the operation of lotto outlets in the province.
The petition for the declaration of nullity with preliminary prohibitory injunction, temporary restraining order and damages, was filed by Alejandro Calderon, Bernard Christian Locsin, Fatima Sung, Nurhielmina Hinaut, Lanie Rose Zosa, Milagros Aldeguer, Betty Lumaya, Catherine Marine Taclob, Floripes Maquiling, Josefina Tee, Medy Maxima Vilan and Paul Garrovillo.
They asked the court to order the Dumaguete City government to cease and desist from enforcing the ordinance pending the resolution of the issue on its validity, and to stop the city from enforcing the notice of closure it had earlier sent to each of the petitioners.
The respondents include the Dumaguete government, represented by Mayor Manuel Sagarbarria, the Sangguniang Panlungsod, led by Vice Mayor Alan Gel Cordova, and the Provincial Board, represented by Vice Gov. Apolinario Arnaiz Jr.
In their petition, the operators claimed that what the national legislative expressly allows by law, such as lotto, a provincial board may not be disallowed by ordinance or resolution.
They said local government units are merely agents of the national government, and that the legislative powers by SPs and PBs have been conferred on by Congress, that is the national lawmaking body.
The operators also claimed that acts of the respondents are violative of their right, and caused gross and irreparable damage to their businesses.
They are asking for moral damages of P100,000, P100,000 as exemplary damages, P75,000 in attorneys’ fees, P5,000 per court appearance, and another P5,000 as incidental litigation expenses.
Cordova said he was not surprised by the petition, since it is the right of anyone to protect his or her rights. He said the case could settle the constitutionality of Ordinance 4, one and for all.
Msgr. Gamaliel Tulabing, administrator of the Diocese of Dumaguete, said he believes in the strong political will of the city officials, and the good sense of lotto operators.
Tulabing also said he hopes that petitioners would look at other forms of businesses that do not destroy the moral fiber of Negrenses.*JG
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