Cebu News

City legal office awaits docs to support filing of charges

Iris Hazel Mascardo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu City Legal Office is asking the officials of Barangay Hipodromo to hasten the submission of documents needed to back the allegations of illegal demolition and to support the filing of appropriate charges.

Lawyer Carlo Vincent Gimena, head of the city legal office, said they could not proceed with the filing of a case against the court sheriff and the members of the demolition team without the supporting documents.

“I already instructed them that please provide us with all the documents that we need so we can already track the complaint as well as the circumstances,” said Gimena.

According to him, they have to get certain witnesses and other supporting documents that could back their claims that there were houses that were illegally demolished in Barangay Hipodromo. He said the barangay has to substantiate this allegation, adding that they cannot just base the filing of the complaint on a mere claim.

“We have to prove that allegations that is why we are requiring them to submit that certain allegations to prove,” said Gimena.

It was reported that the City Legal Office will be filing appropriate charges against the sheriff and the demolition team for allegedly failing to follow due process in executing the demolition order at Barangay Hipodromo on February 14, 2024.

Among the violations allegedly committed was the failure to conduct a mandatory pre-demolition conference. Under the law, a pre-demolition conference is a must to determine the relocation site of the families that will be affected.

Earlier, Gimena said they are eyeing to file a case for violation of the Republic Act (RA) 7279, otherwise known as the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992. According to Gimena, the affected houses were supposed to be marked. As assessed, the area didn’t have such hence a violation.

In the absence of markings, there was no distinction of the affected houses that resulted in the demolition of houses that were not part of the order. Although they have initially identified the grounds to file charges, Gimena said they still need to get hold of the documents to see if there was really a violation committed by the sheriff and the demolition team.

“Maghuwat gyud ta kay di man pwede ma mag file-file lang ta og kaso na wala tay supporting documents nga i-attach nato sa atong complaint,” said Gimena.

According to Gimena, it has been long now that they are reminding the barangay to provide them the documents but to no avail.

As of this time, Gimena said the barangay officials told them that they are still collecting and gathering the documents. — (FREEMAN)

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