Business Community Condemns
Harassment Versus Aklan Resort Owner
by Johnny P. Dayang
A cloud of fear has enveloped the business community in an emerging tourism town in Aklan after the local government there ordered the closure of a resort owned by a leader of the local chamber of commerce without due process.
Businessman Ariel Abriam, past Boracay chapter president of the Philippines Chambers of Commerce and Industries (PCCI), has asked the Regional Trial Court in Kalibo to order Mayor Quezon F. Labindao of Buruanga, Aklan to cease and desist from further implementing the notice of permanent closure he issued versus Ariel’s Point, a resort in the area that has caught the fancy of international tourists and has been featured in several online sites.
Ariel’s Point, acquired by the Abriam family in 2009 and has been granted permits and licenses by the office of Labindao and the national government since then up to 2014, is a subject of a permanent closure order issued by the mayor on March 3, 2015 that was enforced immediately.
Abriam, through his counsel Marienne M. Ibadlit, in response, filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with urgent application for temporary restraining order (TRO), and/or writ of preliminary prohibition/mandatory injunction.
In his petition, Abriam said he became a subject of harassment by the municipal government since June 2014 up to the time when Ariel’s Point Resort was padlocked by Labindao’s men.
Abriam revealed that in one occasion during a hearing set by the municipal government on the alleged violations of Ariel’s Point Resort, Labindao disclosed his desire to have the property acquired by Oceanpark, which already has a facility nearby. “He explained that it would be more beneficial to the Municipality of Buruanga if the property is sold to Oceanpark as it is a bigger investor.”
He said the municipal government only concocted grounds to shut down the resort, and that the closure order was issued without due process.
Abriam, thus, asked the court to issue a 72-hour ex-parte TRO; upon summary hearing extend the TRO for another 20 days, and subsequently injunction orders to permanently stop the implementation of the mayor’s order to padlock the resort.
Aside from declaring the notice of closure as null and void, Abriam also wants the judge to order Labindao and his fellow respondents to pay P4.7 million in indemnity, damages and litigation fees. /MP