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Cebu News

Charges to be filed vs demolition team

Iris Hazel Mascardo - The Freeman
Charges to be filed vs demolition team
Members of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) secure the area in Barangay Hipodromo, Cebu City where a demolition of illegal structures was conducted.
Aldo Nelbert Banaynal

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu City Legal Office will be filing appropriate charges against the sheriff and the team behind the demolition in Barangay Hipodromo yesterday, February 14, 2024, for allegedly failing to follow due process.

City Legal Officer Carlo Vincent Gimena, in an interview with the media yesterday after the negotiation with the demolition team, said they are eyeing violations against Republic Act (RA) 7279, otherwise known as the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992.

He disclosed that among the violations committed was the failure to conduct a pre-demolition conference, which Gimena said is supposed to be mandatory to determine the relocation sites of the displaced families.

“So luoy kaayo, ang uban gani walay labot sa kaso gi-apil og demolish ilang balay so daghan kaayo’g violations nga angay natong i-correct,” said Gimena.

According to Gimena, the affected houses were supposed to be marked. As assessed, the area didn’t have such.

In the absence of markings, there was no distinction of houses that needed to be taken down, which resulted in the demolition of houses that were not part of the case.

“The court has no jurisdiction over these people nga wala ma involved sa kaso, basic man na siya na doctrine,” said Gimena.

Though he has yet to get hold of the documents needed, Gimena said that the incident is a private case.

But they will be asking for the complete list of affected houses, including the demolished houses that are not supposed to be part of the case.

Further, they are also asking for the names included in the demolition team. According to Gimena, the demolition was executed even without a clear mission order.

“They did not coordinate with the city that’s why I did not have a copy of that,” said Gimena.

In a separate interview with Hipodromo Barangay Captain Dondon Bacolod, he said they brought the case before the Office of the City Mayor a few times already.

They opted to call for an intervention when they found out that there were houses included that weren’t included in the case.

“Mao tuy among gi-fight,” he told reporters.

As of noon time yesterday, Gimena alongside Cebu City Administrator Collin Rosell, personally responded to the area and ordered a stoppage of the demolition. —/ATO (FREEMAN)

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