Don Gil Garcia Street houses: Capitol Site demolition proceeds

Ma. Fatima R. Secuya/RHM (The Freeman) - February 17, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - After residents blocked the wrecking crew last   Tuesday, demolition of at least 160 houses in Barangay Capitol Site, Cebu City pushed through yesterday despite questions raised over the basis for the court’s order.

Residents this time were not able to stop the demolition team composed of around 70 men, or 50 more than those who attempted to implement the court order last Tuesday, when 283 individuals who are affected by the demolition order barricaded their houses.

The residents that time succeeded in preventing Court Sheriff El Cid Caballes from implementing the order issued by Regional Trial Court Judge Wilfredo Navarro on March 27, 2014 against owners of the houses located along Don Gil Garcia Street.

The residents insisted that they should not be included in the writ of demolition since the area where their homes stand a public domain and not part of the private lot which was the subject of the civil case filed by the private claimant.

Sanlakas Secretary-Gene-ral Aaron Pedrosa, who represented the residents in court, earlier said his clients were not even included in the original complaint since they are not occupying 6085-A-1 lot, which was covered by the writ of demolition executed last year, but the space beside it.

Navarro, however, said in his order that the area was an “abandoned river bed which adjoins 6085-A-1.”

He quoted Article 461 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines, which provides that “River beds which are abandoned through the natural change in the course of the waters ipso facto belong to the owners whose lands are occupied by the new course (of the river) in proportion to the area lost.”

He said the contested area, therefore, now belongs to the plaintiffs (a certain Mauricio Quijada) since the latter is the owner of lot 6085-A-1.

Matt Ranillo Vergara, president of the Capitol Site Public Domain Homeowners Association, said there were a lot of lapses committed by the demolition team, saying the men do not even have identification cards and showed no consideration even for old people and children who were still inside the houses.

He said they were planning to file charges against the demolition team for the “inhumane” acts.

Caballes, though, said all his men have identification cards and even showed them to the media. He also said his men underwent a pre-demolition conference.

Meanwhile, Barangay Captain Manuel Guanzon, who came to area to sympathize with his affected consti-tuents, said he gave them authority to rebuild their homes in the exact same spot because “it is their right” to do so. — (FREEMAN)

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