Cebu News

2 houses in Apas demolished; residents appeal court order

Niña S. Abenoja and Mylen P. Manto - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Two houses in sitio San Miguel, Barangay Apas were demolished yesterday after the Regional Trial Court (RTC) denied a petition to temporarily stop a demolition order issued earlier by the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) pending appeal of 15 affected residents. 

Residents tried to stop the demolition team, but members of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) and police personnel prevented them from interfering.

The demolition team started tearing down the house owned by Jose Bandilio and another one beside it at past 2 p.m. but suspended operations shortly before 3 a.m. upon the request of Apas Barangay Captain Ramil Ayuman. The demolition will resume today.

Lawyer Benjamin Militar, lawyer of the 15 residents that petitioned in court, said his clients will file a motion today for the court to reconsider its decision.

RTC Judge Alexander Acosta said the court could not grant the residents’ petition for a temporary restraining order for lack of jurisdiction. Acosta also pointed out that sheriff is responsible for the enforcement of  the demolition order was not notified of the hearing of the petition.

“A perusal, however, of the instant motion would readily show that Sheriff Suarin, who is the person or the party to be enjoined, was not notified in the hearing set by the defendants-movants nor was he impleaded as nominal party to the instant case and motion. Corollary, this court has not acquired jurisdiction to enjoin Sheriff Suarin from enforcing and implementing,” Acosta’s order reads.

Acosta cited Section 5 of Rule 58 (preliminary injunction) of the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure, which states that “no preliminary injunction shall be granted without hearing and prior notice to the party or person sought to be enjoined.”

 The judge also said that 15 of 157 residents affected of the demolition failed to manifest their willingness to put up a bond. For now, only 36 families have posted a bond.

While the others protested the demolition, other affected residents chose not to fight.

Myra Gumajad could only cry in disbelief  when she saw the demolition team tear Bandilio’s house down. Bandilio is her husband’s cousin.

 â€œNadayon g’yud diay. Paita (It finally happened. This is so painful),” Gumajad said.

Vangie Adonay whose house is also situated beside Bandilio’s also shed tears.

“Bisa’g kami na lang unta ‘to muguba sa among balay. Nakalitan ra gyud mi. Maglisod pa mi’g hakot aning among mga butang (It would be less painful if we would demolish our houses ourselves. We were shocked. It is difficult to transfer our belongings),” she said.

Vivi Dalmacion, president of the Apas Urbandland Association, Inc., said they never expected that the court would actually let the demolition happen.

“Wala gyud na nako gi-entertain sa akong hunahuna nga madayon ang demolition. Dili mi mangangkon na amo ning yutaa pero di gyud sad mi mudawat nga ila ni kay di gyud ni ila (We never entertained the possibility that the demolition would push through. We’re not claiming the lots as ours but we will not accept that they own the lots),” Dalmacion said, referring to Aletha Suico-Magat, the claimant of lots 942 and 947.

The residents have argued that lots are owned by the Provincial Government.

Ayuman called on Governor Hilario Davide III to intervene.

“Muhangyo lang unta mi sa gobernador na mu-intervene siya ani (We are calling on the governor to intervene in the matter),” Ayuman said.

Mayor Michael Rama admitted yesterday that the city did not expect the demolition, thus, was not able to prepare for a relocation site. Councilor Hans Abella, chair of the Local Housing Board, said he will meet with his fellow councilors to discuss the plight of the 157 families.

Named defendants-appellants in the case in the RTC include Jelita Briones, Luzviminda Tano, Dionisio Recla (and Maria Jezel Recla), Narcisa Baltazar, Eleuteria B. Mier, Carmelita Garcia, Lourdes Cayobit, Vicenta Guerrero, Darlene Lladoc, Teodocia Alegado, Salome Cañete, Delfin R. Esparcia, Jr. (also kwon as Jenniefer Esparcia), Andrea Munasque Montilla, Sarmiento and Israelie Joy.

 They have asked the RTC to declare null and void the order of MTCC Judge Pamela Baring-Uy, which favored Magat. /JMO (FREEMAN)











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