A COUPLE from Talisay City sued a public agency that implemented Cebu City’s South Reclamation Project (SRP), saying the government took one of their lots without paying for it.

Alfero Bagano and his wife Marita filed the civil suit for recovery of possession of real property or payment of just compensation against the Metro Cebu Development Project Office (MCDP).

Through their lawyer, Girlie Young, they asked the court to order the MCDP to either return their property or pay them P222,000, based on the market value of P1,500 per square meter when the property was taken from them.

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They also sued the Republic of the Philippines and the Department of Public Works and Highways.

The Baganos said they own two lots, Lot 783-B-16 (127 square meters) and 783-B-13 (148 sq.m.), which the SRP affected in 1998.

But when the government condemned and used their property as part of the SRP, the petitioners said, the 148-sq. m. parcel was left out of the expropriation proceedings before Cebu City’s Regional Trial Court Branch 12.

The petitioners said they made several follow-ups about their property but the defendants’ representatives simply promised to take up the matter soon.

The Baganos said the lot was never expropriated, so they were never paid, in violation of Republic Act 8974 and the Constitution. 

They cited Section 9, Article III of the Constitution, which states that “private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.”

“The malicious and unjustified refusal of the defendants to pay the just compensation of their properties…has caused (petitioners) to suffer mental anguish, sleepless nights and wounded feelings, thinking that this government must be worse than the communists, as it has the temerity to take private property without paying the owners,” the petitioners said.

They also asked for P500,000 as moral damages, P50,000 as lawyer’s fees, P100,000 as litigation fees and P2,500 as lawyer’s appearance fee.