Over lahug lot: RTC dismisses UP case vs Cebu City

(The Freeman) - January 15, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines – The Regional Trial Court has dismissed the civil case for injunction filed by the University of the Philippines against the Cebu City government over a fire-stricken lot in Sitio Avocado, Barangay Lahug.

Judge Ricky Jones Macabaya agreed with the contention of Cebu City lawyer Carl Vincent Sasuman that UP-Cebu Dean lawyer Liza Corro has no authority to represent or to sue for and on behalf of the university.

“During the oral arguments in open court and in its Memorandum, plaintiff argued that Atty. Corro, the dean of UP Cebu, has authority to represent the University of the Philippines in this case. The said argument of the plaintiff deserves a scant consideration. This is because, as previously discussed, the amended complaint miserably failed to show document/s expressly and categorically authorizing Dean Corro to represent the University of the Philippines in this case,” read the six-page order.

Macabaya upon examining the attached memorandum of Corro said that the authority to sue for and on behalf of the component university on matters within their area of jurisdiction is delegated to the “Chancellor of the autonomous university and not the Dean of the university.”

Hence, he ruled that Corro has no authority to represent UP in initiating the filing of the injunction case before the court against the city government and other defendants to stop them from entering and or staying, reblocking or making improvements within the fire-stricken property.

Sought for comment, Corro said she has authorization since she has the chancellor function vested on her per the 1266th meeting of Board of Regents approval on January 27, 2011.

“Certified true copies were attached. Judge failed to appreciate that Cebu dean has chancellor functions,” she said.

“I can sue and be sued in behalf of the University of the Philippines, for matters occurring here in Cebu. There is only one University of the Philippines all throughout the country, represented by its different constituent universities, like UP Cebu. Matters happening in Cebu, I represent UP for it. BOR policies in support of this were attached to the complaint,” she added.

Corro said she is still talking with UP lawyers on whether to file a motion for reconsideration, re-file the complaint, or go for certiorari.

UP lawyer Rene Abcede Jr., told The FREEMAN their camp will file a motion for reconsideration within the 15-day reglementary period.

The complaint and the amended complaint filed, Macabaya added, were considered as if without any verification and certification of non-forum shopping.

“Under the rules, non-compliance of the said mandatory requirement (certification against non-forum shopping) shall not be curable by mere amendment of the complaint or other initiatory pleading but shall be a cause for the dismissal of the case without prejudice. In view of the foregoing, the court is constrained to dismiss for plaintiff’s failure to comply with Section 5, Rule 7 of the Rules Court,” the order further read.

The civil case was filed against the city represented by acting city Mayor Edgar Labella, city administrator Lucelle Mercado, Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor head Collin Rossel, other members of the Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification, and Enhancement (PROBE), among others.

UP Cebu claimed to be the registered owner of Lot No. 911 B2 C2 E, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 31166 with an area of approximately P4,000 square meters in Sitio Avocado, Lahug, Cebu City, which was occupied by informal settlers.

Saying they wanted to utilize their property for the construction of a high school building, Corro asked the court to direct the informal settlers to vacate the lot, and offered a relocation site in Barangay Busay.

Corro informed the residents of their intention to repossess the property after a fire hit the area on December 26, 2015. The school placed tents in the area but these were allegedly removed by Mercado, Rossell and other members of PROBE.

Mercado and others then allegedly placed tents bearing the seal of the city government on January 3.

Macabaya also ruled there was no need to tackle the other issues raised by the parties since these were already moot and academic.


Labella, for his part, said the decision of the court will not prevent the city government from continuing further discussions with the UP Cebu administration.

“This would not stop us to negotiate with Dean Corro. It could be a victory of sort, but this would not stop us in looking for a win-win solution of the problem,” he said.

For Sasuman, they are happy of the court’s swift decision favoring their side.

He said the informal settlers can still continue constructing their houses pending the resolution of the ejectment case filed by the university against the settlers.

“For the City of Cebu, we believe that we are respecting the law. We believe that if you are a private land owner, you have to go to court and file ejectment case. That is what the law provides,” he said. — Mylen P. Manto and Jean Marvette A. Demecillo/NSA (FREEMAN)


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with