CA lifts writ of preliminary injunction vs PCSO

March 29, 2012 10:24 pm 

MANILA, March 29 — The Court of Appeals (CA) has junked a decision of a judge in Cauayan City, Isabela issuing an injunction order enjoining the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) from implementing its rules for the PCSO Loterya ng Bayan (PLB), for lack of jurisdiction.

In its 13-page ruling, the CA's Eight Division reversed and has set aside several orders of Cauayan City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 19 Judge Raul Barbaran.

The CA also lifted the writ of preliminary injunction issued by the Cauayan City RTC, which prevented the PCSO from implementing the provisions of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the PLB.

"Civil Case No. 19-3013 is hereby dismissed for want of jurisdiction on the part of the trial court," the decision penned by Associate Justice Romeo Barza said.

Impleaded in the petition filed by the Community Gaming and Amusement Network, Inc. (CGANI) were the PCSO and its Board's officers and members — Margarita Juico, Ma. Aleta Tolentino, Mabel Mamba, Betty Nantes, Francisco Joaquin III, Eduardo Araullo, Jose Ferdinand Rojas II and Yamashita Japinan.

In February 2011, the CGANI filed a complaint for injunction with an accompanying prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) against PCSO and the officers and members of the Board.

In the civil case, CGANI alleged that it is the duly Authorized Agent Corporation (AAC) of the PCSO to conduct and operate the small town lottery (STL) for the 3rd and 4th Districts of Isabela province.

CGANI claimed that since Dec. 18, 2008, it has been conducting STL operations in all municipalities in Isabela under the "Rules and Regulations Governing the Conduct of Actual Test Runs For the PCSO Small Town Lottery (STL) Project," promulgated and approved on Dec. 28, 2005 by the PCSO Board of Directors, through a board resolution.

However, to regulate the same, PCSO renamed the STL project to PCSO PLB and on Feb. 3, 2011. It has also approved another implementing rules and regulation (IRR).

CGANI alleged in its complaint that the new IRR, in its entirety and in its several sections and subsections, particularly Sections 2, 13, 17 paragraphs (f), (g), 25, Article VII, Sections 22 and 39 are "vague, confusing, contradictory, incomplete, unfair, and an effective tool to revoke the authority, without justifiable causes and due process, of existing Authorized Agent Corporation (AAC) of Small Town Lottery, in general."

However, in its decision, the CA said the RTC of Cauayan City has no authority to issue a writ against PCSO and its board officers and members.

"Clearly, the RTC of Cauayan City, Isabela, has no authority to issue a writ of preliminary injunction against… petitioners, whose official offices are situated in Pasay City, an area outside its judicial jurisdiction, much less have jurisdiction over the instant case considering that respondent CGANI's complaint… is mainly one for injunction which primarily seeks from the RTC of Cauayan City, Isabela, as its main relief after trial, the issuance of a permanent injunction which would restrain PCSO from implementing the new IRR for the PLB," the CA decision said.

"Hence, any judgment by the court a quo in the instant case would be ultimately unenforceable," the CA said.

Concurring in the ruling were Associate Justices Noel Tijam and Edwin Sorongon. (PNA)

lgi/PTR

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