Cebu News

To vacate from contested building: City won’t heed MCWD demand

Iris Hazel M. Mascardo - The Freeman

MANILA, Philippines — The Cebu City government is “respectfully declining” the ultimatum imposed by the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) for it to vacate the building in front of the City Hall that the latter owns.

In a letter addressed to MCWD General Manager Edgar Donoso dated February 20, 2024, the city government said through the City Legal Office (CLO) that it will not heed the demands of MCWD since the city government has “lawful possession of the property.”

A document obtained by The Freeman showed that MCWD gave a final notice to the city government last Jan. 22, 2024 to vacate the MCWD-owned building, which the city has used for its satellite offices. The letter was received by the City Administrator's Office.

In the letter, the MCWD demanded the city government to vacate and surrender possession of the MCWD old building in front of the City Hall within 30 days, pay rentals in the amount of P500,000 which includes occupancy from June 1, 2023, remove structures made or introduced without making damage to the premises, restore and repair any damage caused on the building, and pay any unpaid utilities or billings.

However, in its response to MCWD, the CLO said the Cebu City government lawfully possesses the property.

“There exists no factual and legal basis for the City of Cebu to relinquish its lawful possession over the property,” read CLO’s letter.

The letter further reads that when Cebu City took possession of the premises in 2022, there was no contract of lease, essentially leaving no obligation for the city to pay rent at that time.

“Instead a usufruct was constituted over the property by MCWD in favor of the City of Cebu,” it says.

In line with this, the CLO said Cebu City “unequivocally refuses to vacate and relinquish possession” of the MCWD Old Building.

It added that by virtue of MCWD Board Resolution No. 04-067-2023, the possession over the MCWD Old Building was transferred to the city and the transfer was not subject to any condition.

It also said that a contract occurs when there is an agreement between two parties and a price must also be established.

“Indubitably, there was no contract of lease when the possession over the property was transferred to the City pursuant to MCWD Board Resolution No. 04-067-2023, and thus, there is no legal basis for the City to be paying rent.” said the CLO in its letter.

The CLO then cited the MCWD Board Resolution No. 04-067-2023 wherein a usufruct over the area was created in favor of the city emphasizing that it wasn’t a lease of contract.

It clarified that by the time the property was delivered to the city as a “usufructuary,” there was no existing lease contract yet.

“Considering that the City is in lawful possession of the property, the City has a right to be respected in its possession,” reads the letter.

“A person in possession cannot be ejected by force, violence or terror, not even by the owners, regardless of the actual condition of the title to the property. The City stands firm in its position and cannot be compelled to vacate or surrender possession of the MCWD Old Building,” they added.

As more factors were laid down to put emphasis on the contract between the city government and MCWD that was made official last September 19, 2023, CLO’s letter further stated that the city will not make payments for the months that have lapsed following the perfection of the contract between the parties.

Accordingly, the city government is not entitled to pay as there are certain requirements which must be compiled first.

Among this is the board resolution issued by the MCWD directors duly “appointed by Cebu City Mayor Michael L. Rama, granting Edgar H. Donoso the authority to sign the contract on behalf of MCWD.”

Aside from this is the board resolution issued by the MCWD Directors duly appointed by Rama, endorsing the rental rates and approving the contract and signed Contract of Lease.

“Furthermore, our office wishes for the MCWD Board to recognize, in issuing a Board Resolution endorsing the rental rates, that the agreed price of Php 500,000,” the CLO letter says.

“Hence, in alignment with the aforementioned laws and legal doctrines, the Office respectfully DECLINES the demands outlined or enumerated in your final notice and demand to vacate letter. The City of Cebu, with due respect, may find it necessary to protect its rights and pursue appropriate actions in response to the matters mentioned above,” it added. (CEBU NEWS)

vuukle comment


  • 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!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with