Making triumphs to build milestones, legacies
BY JASON B. NEOLA
“This localized version of “Katarungang Pambarangay” was authored by City Councilor Legacion to help Lupon members enhance their knowledge and skills on conciliation and arbitration of barangay disputes.”
Before his stint as city legal officer, Legacion was administrative officer, litigation officer, and later branch coordinator of the Sentrong Alternatibong Lingap Panlegal (Saligan) in Naga City from 1992 to 2001 where he zealously fought for the rights and interests of the poorer and marginalized sectors of our society.
He also found time to be professor of law at the University of Nueva Caceres and college instructor at the Universidad de Sta Isabel. On July 1, 2001, he was recruited to serve as the city legal officer, a position he carried on with flying colors until March 29, 2007 when he strode higher to become a city councilor on his first term. As the city’s chief lawyer, Legacion successfully prosecuted expropriation cases that resulted in the distribution of residential lots to urban poor beneficiaries of the city’s urban poor affairs and resettlement programs.
But, most of all, two celebrated cases that the city faced proved his true mettle as a brilliant and hardworking legal mind. It also showed his unwavering love and dedicated service to the city and its institutions that since then he vowed to serve. Ejectment case filed by the heirs of Macario Mariano and the Plaza Rizal case between the city and the provincial government of Camarines Sur as the two celebrated cases referred above.
While the Plaza Rizal case, which stemmed from an issue ofwhich local government should supervise and administer the city’s premier plaza, had long been started before Atty. Legacion became the city legal officer, its resolution in favor of the city became clear when the young lawyer pursued the case to the hilt and asked the Supreme Court for expedient action. Today, under Mayor John G. Bongat’s vision of a clean and orderly city, Plaza Rizal is fast reclaiming its lost glory as a well-kept and visitor-friendly promenade for the city’s weary residents and travelers.
On the ejectment case which drove city hall on a frenzy after the Regional Trial Court ordered the city government to vacate the city hall in favor of the Marianos, Legacion, along with then City Mayor Jesse Robredo, did not lose focus, and most of all hope, of fighting for the higher interest of the people of Naga City. Partnering with then private practitioner J. Anselmo Cadiz who is now the Solicitor- General, the two brought the case the Court of Appeals and eventually to the Supreme Court which after a few years finally decided that the city is entitled to the possession of the contested land by virtue of a deed of donation by the elder Mariano. The High Tribunal in its amended decision dated July 20, 2011 noted that the entry of the city into the property and subsequently, by the other government agencies (Postal Office, LTO, NBI, Hall of Justice, prosecutor’s offices, fire department, and IBP Camarines Sur) which had constructed their office buildings thereon, without objection from Don Mariano Macario or that of the other officials of the subdivision who were privies to the donation, is solid proof that, indeed, the donation in question was consummated.
As city councilor, Legacion’s passion and commitment to servecontinue to shine even brighter. He co-authored Ordinance No.2007-045, otherwise known as the QUEEN Ordinance and authored Ordinance No. 2011-053, otherwise known as the Revised QUEEN Ordinance which mandates the city government to provide public school children necessary assistance to ensure that they gain full access to basic education and that all children of school age in Naga are able to complete their elementary and high school education. Today, there are about 22,000 pupils from about 12,000 families that benefit from the QUEEN program, which includes payment of children’s school fees, graduation expenses, and rice allocation through a variation of the national government’s 4Ps, or the conditional cash transfer program.
He also authored the Summer Enhancement and Enrichment Program or SEEP Ordinance that seeks to raise the quality of education in the city by making free summer remedial and enrichment classes available. The program was highly recommended and strongly endorsed by DepEd itself, claiming that it helped to improve the Division Achievement Test result.
Showing great concern for the college education of poor but deserving students of the city, Legacion principally authored Ordinance No. 2010-063 entitled “AN ORDINANCE INSTITUTIONALIZING THE CITY’S TERTIARY SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM, PROVIDING FUNDS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES”.
The allocation for the program was doubled by increasing it to PhP 10,000,000.00, an amount that is ought to increase yearly depending on the city’s annual budget. The legislative measure likewise mandated the establishment of the Barangay Scholarship Program in the city’s 27 barangays. At present, 421 college students benefit from the program excluding barangay scholars whose number is expected to reach more than 100.
In 2008, Legacion called the attention of local dealers to the disparity in prices of petroleum products in Naga City as against those in nearby areas. This immediately resulted to a reduction in prices to about P2 per liter of petroleum products even in the absence of announced price rollbacks from Manila. It also resulted to the creation of a Petroleum Price Watch in the city.
On October 26, 2010, Legacion passionately advocated for an immediate shift from the use of mercury bulbs to compact fluorescent light (CFL) resulting in the decision to invest the sum of Php 983,000.00 to buy 4,457 pieces of 23 watts and 800 pieces of 24 watts CFL for use in city streetlights by passing Ordinance No. 2010-053. Per report received on May 2, 2011 from the GSD, the measure generated a wattage savings for the city in the sum of P3,158,314.20/month or P37,899,770.40/year.
Still not content with his legislative work, Legacion likewise spearheaded the re-organization of the Naga City Lupong Tagapamayapa Federation, Inc. with the book on Lupong Tagapamayapa which he himself authored and thereafter distributed to all Lupon members in the city. He conducted trainings and seminars for them to enhance their knowledge and skills in conciliation, mediation, and arbitration of barangay disputes, thereby also serving as adviser of the Lupong Tagapamayapa.
Watch this man’s steps. Because he makes more triumphs and marks more milestones along the way.