Cebu News

Over fire-hit Lahug lot: UP gets TRO vs Cebu City

Mylen P. Manto, Jean Marvette A. Demecillo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu City Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Soliver Peras has issued a 72-hour temporary restraining order against Cebu City stopping it from entering and or staying, re-blocking or making construction within the lot owned by the University of the Philippines Cebu College in Sitio Avocado, Barangay Lahug.

Peras issued the TRO yesterday morning saying he found urgency to issue the order.

Last Friday, UP Cebu filed a civil case before the court for injunction to stop the city government from entering, re-blocking and making improvements  within the site that was hit by a fire recently.

The dean of the college, Liza Corro, asked the court to grant their urgent application for TRO effective for 72 hours to avoid “grave injustice and irreparable injury” while their application for injunction will be heard.

Named dependants for injunction, with application for TRO and writ of preliminary injunction were the City of Cebu, represented by Acting Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella, City Administrator Lucelle Mercado, Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor head Collin Rossel, members of the Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification and Enhancement team and all other persons claiming authority.

When sought for comment, Cebu City Attorney Jerone Castillo said he has not read the contents of the TRO yet. However, he said there is nothing to be enjoined and restrained because the re-blocking process of the city government is already complete.

He said re-blocking is giving lot allocation to the fire victims and establishing a road to further prevent emergencies.

“With all due respect, there is nothing to be enjoined because when you say reblocking, na-reblock naman na. When you say from entering (the lot), we have already entered. When you say re-blocking, we have already re-blocked. What is there to restrain? It’s complete. In fact the road is there,” he said.

Castillo said he will call for a conference with others city government lawyers when they receive the order.

Corro, through her lawer, said UP Cebu is the registered owner of Lot No. 911 B2 C2 E, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 31166 with an area of approximately P4,000 square meter situated at Gorordo Avenue, Lahug, Cebu City, which was occupied by informal settlers.

Corro said in 2014 through Virgilio Nuñez, head of its Informal Settlers Committee, they sent demand letters to the informal settlers asking them to vacate the property within 30 days from receipt of the demand because they need to construct a high school building on their property.

Despite the demand the informal settlers refused to vacate.

After a fire destroyed houses in the lot last December 26, Corro and UP Cebu officials and employees went to the area to put up a tent, fence, and occupy 2,000 square meters of the lot for the construction of the high school building.

She likewise talked to the residents that they were offering a relocation site in Barangay Busay.

However, Corro said they were surprised when Mercado, Rossell and PROBE team members removed the tents they put up, loaded it in their trucks and put up their own tents bearing the seal of the City of Cebu on January 3, 2016, which act prevented them from possessing their property.

Corro further said there was no question of their ownership since it was acknowledged by the residents and the City of Cebu and they have the right to repossess and enjoy their property, pursuant to its mandate to provide quality education.

Hence, Corro is asking the court to stop the defendants from entering the premises, destroying their tents, putting up their own tents, conducting re-blocking of the area, dispatching a surveying team to survey the area with the intention of redistributing to the informal settlers and to stop any and all construction made in the area, including the supplying of building materials to the informal settlers.

Lawyer Rene Abcede, Jr., one of the lawyers of UP Cebu said the filing of complaint for forcible entry against the residents will follow.

After the issuance of the TRO, Corro said there will be further hearings conducted to complete the 20-day TRO that they asked for.

“But a forcible entry case will also be filed against the informal settlers who forcibly took over the lot from UP Cebu last December 31 as assisted by the city government. We hope we can soon take over the lot in due time,” she said.

Castillo said the city government will answer all the cases filed by UP Cebu.

“They are entitled for their own opinion sad. We are entitled sa among own opinion. So, we have to settle it in court,” he said regarding the forcible entry case. — /BRP (FREEMAN)













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