Friday, July 6, 2012

Mayor sued over ‘jewelry debt’

..A CIVIL case was filed in court against Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza for her alleged failure to pay for pieces of jewelry worth over P1 million.

Plaintiff Virginia Arnibal, who is in the business of buying and selling jewelry, filed the civil suit for sum of money and damages against Radaza before the Regional Trial Court in Cebu City.

Arnibal asked the court to order Radaza to pay P1,326,100 plus interest and P50,000 as litigation expenses.

Apart from asking the court to order Radaza to pay for the jewelry she received, Arnibal also requested the court to issue a writ of preliminary attachment against the mayor’s property to satisfy the unpaid amount.

But in a press statement released yesterday, Mayor Radaza denied owing Arnibal money.


She said that in 2009, she returned pieces of jewelry valued at three times more than what Arnibal claims she owes.

Radaza said she thought that after returning the items, Arnibal would consider it as her full payment.

The mayor said she is both sad and angry that someone she considered a friend since the `70s had tarnished her name and her family’s reputation by filing a malicious case against her.

“I learned that on the eve of the 2010 elections, she went to the broadcast media with her false claim. I did not give much attention to it since I was fully convinced that I had settled whatever my dues and that the jewelry I gave to her was valued three times the amount of what she insisted that I owed her,” said Radaza.

“Now with the elections about to hit fever pitch, she is at it again… It is high time that her extortion activity be stopped,” she added.

Radaza instructed her lawyers to prepare the appropriate counterclaim and countercharges after receiving a copy of Arnibal’s complaint.

In her three-page complaint filed last July 3, Arnibal said she met Radaza in 1976 when the mayor was still working in a bank in Barangay Tipolo, Mandaue City.

Radaza became one of her clients.

Since she trusted Radaza, Arnibal said she did not document transactions whenever the mayor ordered jewelry from her.


Arnibal said Radaza would order jewelry in bulk. The mayor usually paid in full before making new orders, the plaintiff said.

Arnibal said she only documented the transactions she made with the mayor from 2004 to 2008 in a small notebook where she wrote down the items she delivered to the mayor’s house. The jewelry included several rings and pairs of earrings with diamonds.

Arnibal said her daughter Mardy can attest to the orders and the specific items she delivered to Radaza’s house during this period.

Arnibal said Radaza paid P125,000 on May 6, 2009, leaving a balance of P2.775 million.

After several demands, the mayor, through her maid, returned to Arnibal several pieces of jewelry worth P1,448,900.

But Arnibal said the jewelry Radaza returned to her were not the same items she delivered to the mayor.

Arnibal said her lawyer, Michal Gatchalian, sent demand letters to the mayor, but she did not heed them and she refused to pay the remaining balance of P1,326,100.