Demolition to push through-A A +A
Saturday, September 29, 2012
THE demolition of about 32 houses in Barangay Luz, Cebu City will start on Oct. 8.
City Hall lawyers told Regional Trial Court Branch 11 Judge Ramon Daomilas yesterday that Mayor Michael Rama will heed the City Council’s decision not to expropriate the lots in Sitios Nangka, Lubi and Mabuhay, where the houses of the affected residents stand.
Daomilas initially scheduled the demolition on Oct. 1, but he moved it to Oct. 8 upon the request of city lawyers since the filing of the certificate of candidacy will start on Oct. 1.
Daomilas said the demolition should be made in a “gradual basis” and in the “most humane way possible.” “I hope it will be peaceful,” he said.
Of the original 32 families, 29 remain. Three families volunteered to leave after a fire hit the area last May 11.
The deferment of the demolition was the third time since the case was resolved with finality by the Supreme Court (SC) in 2008.
The 32 families were ordered to vacate the property after they lost the legal battle in 1996.
They had asked the court to allow them to buy the lots they occupy, pursuant to the terms provided under Resolution 239-93 and Ordinance 93-1 of Cebu Province.
Former judge and now Justice Isaias Dicdican said the residents had no legal rights to do so, and ordered them to vacate the property.
Mayor Rama had asked Daomilas to postpone the demolition since he said the City is still searching for a “suitable relocation site” for affected families.
Last Monday, Daomilas held in abeyance the demolition after city lawyers sought another extension.
In yesterday’s hearing, lawyer Collin Rosell, chief of the city’s Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP), said the City is willing to obey the court ruling.
Rosell said the DWUP will provide proper relocation “in the soonest possible time.”
He said some relocation sites have problems, such as flooding and the lack of a road right-of-way.
Raymond Bertulfo, counsel for the homeowners’ associations, said the enforcement of demolition was overdue for almost two years. “The time is ripe to execute the demolition,” he said.
Bertulfo said the DWUP is mandated to provide the relocation site.
He said the homeowners’ groups will also extend P10, 000 financial assistant to each affected family.
City Hall lawyer Leslie Ann Reyes also informed the court that the council has yet to furnish the Office of the City Mayor with a copy of its resolution objecting the City’s plan to purchase the lots occupied by the 32 families.
Daomilas instructed his staff to get a copy of the council’s resolution. He also ordered his sheriff to verify the houses to be demolished.
“The die is cast. There is already a ruling by the SC. Only the SC can overrule its decision. We cannot do something on that,” the judge said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 29, 2012.