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Apas cell site closure stopped

(The Freeman) - February 17, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Soliver Peras has granted a 72-hour temporary restraining order sought by the Digitel Mobile Philippines, Inc. (DMPI) against the Cebu City Council over its resolution that paved the way for the removal of its cell tower in Barangay Apas.

Lawyer Eduardo Felipe of DMPI said the council and the mayor were directed to desist from enforcing the resolution revoking their special use permit.

DMPI, commercially known as Sun Cellular, provides wireless public and private telecommunications services to the public, and operates a cell tower in Sitio Calvary Hills, Apas, Cebu City.

“This court is of the opinion that there exist an impending and imminent threat on the property of the plaintiff (Sun Cellular) guaranteed by the constitution, and that there would result a grave and irreparable injury to the plaintiffs and its subscribers,” read the court order.

Felipe said their cell tower has been operating for over 10 years already and the revocation of its permit is a violation of their right to due process of law.

“In one of the hearings conducted by the Sangguniang Panlungsod, it was categorically stated by Dir. Peralta of the Department of Health that there is no conclusive evidence anywhere in the world that radio frequency radiation emitted by cell sites such as in Calvary Hills can cause cancer,” DMPI said in its petition.

“The government’s action i.e. impending deactivation and removal of DMPI’s cell tower in Barangay Apas is procedurally infirm because the revocation was done by mere resolution and not by way of an ordinance,” Felipe said on why they sought for the nullification of the City Council’s closure.

If the City Council will revoke their permit, he said, they should be subject for compensation by way of exemplary damages for at least P1 million.

He said that if the closure order will be implemented many subscribers in Cebu City will be affected.

DMPI is seeking for the court to issue of a writ of preliminary injunction, and annul and set aside the council resolution and closure order. It also for the court to order the city to pay P1 million for exemplary damages, P200,000 in attorney’s fees and litigation expenses, and the cost of the suit.

DMPI named as defendants of its complaint the Cebu City Council represented by Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella as its presiding officer; Office of the City Mayor represented by Mayor Michael Rama; Office of the Barangay Chairman of Apas represented by Barangay Captain Ramil Ayuman; and Calvary Hills, Apas Resident’s Organization represented by its president Porponio Lapa, Jr.

Meanwhile, the Cebu City Government said it is standing firm on its plan to shut down today a cell site in Calvary Hills, Apas. The tower, though, would be that of Globe Telecom and not Sun Cellular’s due to the recent court order.

“In so far as Sun Cellular (is concerned), we have to abide by the order of the court. If not, we might be cited for contempt. But in so far as Globe Telecom (is concerned), we haven’t received any injunctive order,” Labella said in a phone interview yesterday.

As acting mayor, Labella issued an order last January for the deactivation of the cell sites.

Rama has referred the court order for the City Legal Office to handle.

The city’s Prevention Restoration Order Beautification and Enhancement office headed by Raquel Arce has been tasked to ensure the stoppage of the cell sites’ operations. — (FREEMAN)

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