MABINI, Bohol – Mayor Esther F. Tabigue of this town is facing a civil suit filed by Danilo A. Du for alleged refusal of the former to sign the latter’s application for mayor’s permit to operate a cockpit in this town. The case is said to be docketed as Civil Case No. 293 for “Damages With Prayer For Preliminary Mandatory Injunction,” before the Regional Trial Court branch 51 of Carmen town, a complaint obtained by this writer, showed. The complainant asked the court to order the defendant to pay the following damages: PhP5,000 per month from January 2014 until the cockpit arena of plaintiff shall be allowed to operate; moral damages in the amount of PhP300,000; litigation expenses, PhP200,000; exemplary damages for not less than PhP200,000 and attorney’s plus appearance fees.
The complainant also “prays for the issuance of a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction directing the defendant to allow plaintiff to hold cockfights in the Buwangan sa Mabini.” The complainant is assisted by Tinampay Legal Clinic through lawyer J. Albert R. Tinampay. In her answer, Mayor Tabigue, as defendant of the said case, also asked the court “to render judgment in favor” of her and to “outrightly dismiss” the case for lack of cause of action.
The defendant also ask the court to dismiss the claims of the complainant “but granting the counterclaims by ordering the plaintiff to pay defendants the following: moral damages in the amount of PhP500,000; and exemplary damages of not less than, PhP300,000.
She is assisted by Provincial Legal Officer Atty. Mitchell John Boiser. The complainant alleged that the mayor did not sign the permit for his cockpit to operate despite all requirements are being complied with. In his 14-page complaint, Du, owner of the cockpit business, said that the “actions of the defendant are clearly politically motivated. She has an ax to grind against plaintiff who supported another candidate for barangay captain during the last barangay elections. Now, plaintiff’s business is suffering from defendant’s lust for vengeance at any cost.”
The complainant added that “her unjust refusal to issue a mayor’s permit has caused enormous losses to plaitiff’s legitimate business.” The defendant denies the allegations of allegedly withholding the issuance of the mayor’s permit for the cockpit to operate.
“Furthermore, the issuance of an injunction is not warranted in this case as plaintiff has no clear legal right to be protected. An injunction can only be issued where there exist a clear legal right to be protected,” the defendant said.
As to the issuance of the mayor’s permit, the defendant said business licenses and permits by a city or municipality “is essentially regulatory in nature.” And such authority devolved to the LGU is an exercise of the police power of the State.
The defense cited the case of Pedro vs. Provincial board of Rizal, 56 Phil 123, saying, “we are of the opinion and so hold (1) That a license authorizing the operation and exploitation of a cockpit is not property of which the holder may not be deprived without due process of law, but a mere privilege which may be revoked when the public interest so require.”