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San Miguel lot issue: Apas residents sue provincial attorney

Odessa O. Leyson (The Freeman) - July 25, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Twenty-two residents of Sitio San Miguel, barangay Apas, Cebu City have filed before the Office of the Ombudsman an administrative complaint against Cebu's provincial legal officer for alleged violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act over lots 942 and 947 of the Banilad and Friar Land Estates that they are occupying.

"It appears that said lots 942 and 947 formed part of the friar lands estate located in Cebu City and Mandaue City numbering 3,000 hectares, which originally belonged to the Spanish government before 1904, but the same were acquired by the Insular Government after American sovereignty was established in the country pursuant to the Friar Land Acts of 1904, which was promulgated by the Filipino commissioner in US Congress," read the complaint.

Under the Friar Land Acts of 1904, a preferential right shall be given to the occupants for the land was acquired by the national government primarily for public use.

However, the complainants learned that despite their follow ups, the province, particularly the Provincial Legal Office, has never undertaken any action to file a complaint declaring the title issued against a certain Santiago Suico null and void.

They argued that the 9,753-square-meter lot was never owned by Suico, as claimed by his heirs, particularly Aletha Suico Magat and her siblings.

"As a matter of fact said lots were among those allegedly expropriated by the Lahug Airport Authority to form part of the Lahug Airport, but the same were never realized for the reason that the airport was transferred to Lapu-Lapu City now under the supervision and control of Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority," they said.

As early as 1976 and 1977 the residents were already situated in the area and constructed their houses before the Lahug Aiport attempted to have an expansion.

Magat, a resident of Mandaue City, claimed that she and her siblings inherited the said lot, which was owned by their late father Santiago Suico.

Magat said that before World War II, her father was issued TCT No. RT-6065 based on the deed of exchange executed by the province of Cebu. The said document, however, was allegedly lost during the war, so her father filed a petition on the lost title and his request was granted.

"This matter was brought to the attention of the Province of Cebu and said political entity, thru the office of the provincial attorney, still maintained that no deed of exchange has been entered between the Province of Cebu and the late Santiago Suico," she said.

The 22 residents said no deed of sale could be found yet they are now being threatened with demolition over Magat's supposed ownership of the property.

Ruel Auxtero, acting president of Morning Dove Association, said that even though there is no demolition order yet, that is what Magat's lawyers have wanted before the court.

"It started in 2013 when they won in the ejectment case which lasted for only seven months. They obtain the judgment in their favor," Auxtero added. (FREEMAN)

 

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