Cebu City preparing to sue Rico’s Lechon owners

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THE CEBU City government will file charges against the owner of Rico’s Lechon for failing to pay taxes. Two restaurants and a commissary of the food firm were closed down by the city government in August. “We are going to be filing cases against them kay nagpahambog siya (owner Enrico Dionson was bragging) and he recorded in media that the sales is half a million a day, so that’s P180 million year, and the past five years, he has not paid anything and they are blaming my daughter-in-law (Bea Villegas Osmeña). Maayo nalang si (It’s good that) Bea kept all the texts (mobile phone messages),” Mayor Tomas R. Osmeña said. The mayor’s daughter-in-law used to be a business partner of the Dionson family. Last week, the Regional Trial Court denied the petition of 3MRS Dionson Corp. for the issuance of a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction against the move of the city government to close down the three Rico’s Lechon business sites. The court said, “Unlike then Mayor Lim of Manila, Mayor Osmeña did not act whimsically in the closure of petitioner’s business establishment. He observed due process. The illusion of ill-motive pictured by the petitioner against Mayor Osmeña is not even ostensible.” The Freeman sought comment from the Dionsons, but family members declined to give a statement. Shortly after their stores were closed down, the Dionson family said the move was the mayor’s personal vendetta for their decision to end their partnership with the mayor’s daughter-in-law. Tax mapping by the City Treasurer’s Office showed Rico’s Lechon’s branch in Barangay Mabolo did not have a business permit from 2012 to 2017 while its branch in Escario Street did not have a business permit since it opened this year. Mr. Osmeña said the city will continue to crack down on business establishments that are operating without permits. The most recent store that the mayor ordered closed is the Ramos branch of the well-known Abuhan restaurant, whose owner, Jose Antonio Osmeña, is his first degree cousin. “All those of you: If you are caught and if you have no business permit, we will close you down and you cannot reopen maybe for two or three years,” he warned businesses here. — The Freeman