JUDGE Eleuteria Badoles-Algodon of Branch 2 of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) postponed the demolition of the over 200 houses in Purok 12, Barangay Tablon.
The move came after lawyer Dale Mordeno, representing the affected families, filed a motion to postpone the demolition and give the residents 15 days to vacate their homes.
Tension gripped Barangay Tablon on Monday, July 9, with some 200 houses facing demolition. Some houses were already demolished but there were still some residents who refused to give in and even built barricades to prevent the demolition team from entering their claimed properties.
Algodon, in the text message sent to the sheriff, said she will hear Mordeno's motion Tuesday, July 10.
"We are thankful that the judge postponed the demolition, because it doesn't have to reach destroying homes, this is only property rights. I am asking the court to give the residents 15 days more," Mordeno said.
But Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno said he would rather find solutions to the demolition of over 200 houses in Barangay Tablon, rather than get in the picture, meddle, and stop the implementation of a court order.
But Mayor Moreno said he is over the requests to extend the demolition schedule, and will instead focus on the relocation of the affected residents.
The City's strategy, the mayor said, is "instead help those affected, find a relocation site rather than perpetuate the problem."
The City has created a task force to assist the affected families and facilitate their relocation.
Barangay Councilor Romeo Bacarro said the residents whose houses were already demolished will be brought to the Indahag evacuation center while they await their relocation in Barangay Pagatpat.
Some affected residents have refused to vacate their homes, insisting that the owner of the four-hectare property, the Himari Corporation, does not have land titles but only tax declaration.
They also demanded that before they vacate, their relocation site should immediately be available.
But the Himari Corporation claimed that aside from tax declaration, they also have land titles for their property. It said they are the original claimants of the property, adding this decision was already affirmed by the court.
The Himari Corporation has already given disturbance fee to the residents and vowed to work with the City Government to ensure that the residents are relocated.