Group claims Capitol does not own DA lot

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Thursday, May 29, 2014


THE leader of a group of families living in the Department of Agriculture (DA) 7 compound said the Cebu Provincial Government cannot evict them.

Carlos Lucero, president of DA Cebu Agriculture Breeding Residents Association Inc., said they have a land title that proves the national government owns the 6.2-hectare property.

The Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 5 had issued a writ that prevented the administration of former governor Gwendolyn Garcia to expel the families in 2010.

“A writ of preliminary injunction is hereby ordered to be issued enjoining the defendant Province of Cebu from disturbing the possession of the occupants of the DA compound and the operation of the DA laboratories in the latter’s building located in the subject properties in dispute, and from taking possession and utilizing the properties in the meantime,” said the late RTC Branch 5 presiding judge Douglas Marigomen.

Marigomen did not resolve the issue of ownership, but he had granted the writ because the “public interests and welfare ought to be of utmost consideration.”

“This court is concerned of the general public welfare that may be greatly prejudiced as the laboratories of the DA in the area are of greatest importance in insuring that our food supply in terms of livestock and poultry are fit for public consumption and thereby prevent the possibility of any outbreak of any disease that may afflict livestock, poultry and other products used by the general public for food consumption,” he said in his four-page resolution.

Reconsideration

Former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña helped the homeowners by filing the writ before the court.

The Province filed a motion for reconsideration, but Marigomen denied it.

Lawyer Benjamin Militar, who represents the homeowners, said the Province proceeded to ask the Court of Appeals (CA) in Cebu City to reverse Marigomen’s decision. But CA has not yet decided on the case.

“The writ of injunction stands valid and it cannot be violated,” he said.

Lucero said families started living in the compound in the 1950s, after then Bureau of Animal Industry allowed them.

The Cebu Provincial Government, he said, should talk with them before making any move.

Vacant lots

Meanwhile, some Capitol employees and DA personnel were found to have been occupying the vacant lots inside the DA Compound on M. Velez St., Guadalupe, Cebu City. Some former DA personnel were also occupying in the area, Sun.Star Cebu learned yesterday.

But, Rene Zita, DA Administration Division chief, said the office does not tolerate any employee to live inside the 6.2-hectare compound.

There are five DA buildings still functioning inside the compound, and none of these are residential, he said.

Capitol officials said they are not aware that some employees are living inside the DA compound.

Sun.Star Cebu visited the compound yesterday and saw some Capitol workers, together with the private guards hired by the Province, staying in the DA front main building.

Some drivers of motorcycle-for-hire, who requested anonymity, said most Capitol employees are living in a vacant lot behind the Register of Deeds or the Land Registration Commission area, and inside the Capitol motorpool area, all located inside the DA compound.

Lucero said these occupants are not part of his 80-member association.

Capitol Chief Security Loi Madrigal and Provincial General Services Office Supervising Administrative Officer Paul Entera have advised building occupants to leave.

When told of Capitol employees inside the DA compound, Entera said he has no knowledge of their stay there.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 30, 2014.

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