Living on borrowed time-A A +A
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
THE Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 7 issued a writ of demolition against 56 families at the North Reclamation Area.
Their houses stand on Lot 18, Block 15, J. de Veyra St., Cebu City.
The writ of demolition was issued last February, but its enforcement has been delayed because former RTC Branch 7 sheriff Christopher Garcia retired in May 2011.
The case stemmed from the complaint filed in 2008 by Domingo Garcia, who owns the 810-square-meter property.
Garcia said the defendants occupied his property without his consent.
“At first, plaintiff tolerated a few of the defendants who occupied the lot. However, as time passed by, occupants grew bigger and bigger in number,” the complaint read.
Garcia said he ordered the illegal settlers to leave, but they asked for an exorbitant amount for their relocation.
In their answer to the complaint, the families said they only occupy 380 square meters of the property, of which 140 square meters are reportedly owned by the Cebu City Government, being a sidewalk.
They said Garcia owns only 240 square meters and not the entire 810 square meters.
They said Garcia should not include those who are not occupying his lot.
In 2009, both parties signed a compromise deal where the residents agreed to voluntarily vacate the property on or before May 15, 2010.
Bernardino Tuico, who acted as the residents’ president, would receive P110,000 that will be distributed to the illegal settlers.
Both parties also agreed to waive whatever rights or counterclaims they may have against each other and agreed that the deal would constitute full and final settlement of the complaint.
“Failure of either one of the defendants to remove his structure will entitle the plaintiff to withhold the amount until all the houses are remove,” the compromise deal read.
The deal was approved by RTC Branch 7 Judge Simeon Dumdum.
But the illegal settlers did not comply with the terms of the deal, based on the writ of executive enforced by the court sheriff on Oct. 21, 2010.
On Aug. 2, 2011, the court ordered the demolition of the 56 houses.
In September that year, the defendants, informed Judge Dumdum that Tuico was not authorized to represent them and that the compromise deal was void.
The judge dismissed their pleading, saying it was a mere maneuver to delay their continued stay in the property.
In April 2011, Garcia’s counsel filed a motion for writ of demolition, which the court granted. At that time, the illegal settlers were given time to voluntarily remove their structures.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 10, 2012.