Guv asks sheriff to postpone demolition

_IGP0528Governor Hilario P. Davide III will appeal to the court sheriff to postpone the demolition of the informal settlers of lots 942 and 947 in Barangay Apas, Cebu City.

The ejectment case is still pending and the Regional Trial Court (RTC) earlier refused to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the enforcement of the writ of demolition.

In its decision, RTC Branch nine Judge Alexander Acosta cited the failure of the appellants to implead in their petition the court sheriff, who would enforce the writ of demolition.

“I’m pleading with the sheriff nga nag enforce sa writ of execution nga di lang una idayon, paaboton lang nato ang desisyon sa korte,” said the governor in a press conference at the Capitol, on Wednesday, March 5.

The residents of the controversial lots were asking the governor for the province to make a special appearance at last Monday’s hearing on the TRO. They alleged that the Capitol maybe the real owner of the lots, not Aletha Suico-Magat, who filed the ejectment case against them.

Provincial Legal Officer Atty. Orvi Ortega attended the hearing but only as an observer as the province has no right to participate in the litigation, as it is not a party to the case.

Governor Davide said he instructed Atty. Ortega to dig deeper into the issue. “If there is really a basis of their allegation that the province owns the lots”, he said, then “we will act accordingly.”

Capitol Real Estate Division Chief Engr. Paulino Entera confirmed that the Capitol has a photocopy of the executive order 20 signed by Gobernador Heneral Francis Burton Harrison establishing the province’s ownership of the lots. However, the document still needs to go through a verification process. The respondents lost in the ejectment case filed by the heirs of Suico-Magat with the Municipal Trial Court in Cities. In January, MTC Judge Pamela Baring-Uy issued a writ of demolition against the residents while the latter elevated the case to the RTC.

Through its predecessor agencies, the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) acquired the lots in expropriation proceedings in 1961 with the right of repurchase should the government fail to utilize the properties for the Lahug Airport expansion.

As the expansion failed to materialize, the owners filed a complaint for reconveyance in 1996. In February 9, 2011, the Supreme Court issued a decision in favor of Suico-Magat. The deed of reconveyance was executed on December 02, 2011. Xerxes Alkuino