Capitol still eyes Palace take over

IMG_7166Governor Hilario P. Davide III mulls a tripartite agreement to rehabilitate the Palace of Justice. He will meet with Supreme Court (SC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials on the matter.

This was decided after the city prosecutors met with Gov. Davide at the Capitol on Monday, March 31. “I told them that I will meet Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. Kaming tulo gyud para mahibal-an nato kung unsay ilang plano,” said Gov. Davide.

The prosecutors, the other occupants of the building, are still holding office in the facility. They also clarified that SC has never really abandoned the building.

Regional State Prosecutor Fernando Gubalane told the governor they have funds to construct a prosecutor’s building. But they do not have a lot to build it on. The province offered the former Department of Agriculture (DA) compound in a usufruct agreement. However, the prosecutors do not want to leave their offices. “What we prefer, particularly the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office, is to stay at our area. And maybe we can ask the DOJ for a budget to repair the upper floors for the other attached agencies,” added Fiscal Aida Sanchez.

Cebu’s trial courts already abandoned the Palace of Justice on orders of the Chief Justice. The third and fourth floors of the building were heavily damaged by the 7.2 magnitude quake that hit Cebu last year.

Gov. Davide met with Sereno in Manila last week. The governor learned that the SC plans to house all their courts in a lot in the South Road Properties. But while they have a budget for the Court of Appeals, it has none for the lower courts.

Earlier, the province said it is keen to use the Justice building as the Capitol lacks office spaces. Xerxes Alkuino