A LANDOWNER has filed a complaint against 15 Mandaue City officials before the anti-graft office for allegedly trespassing on her property.

Maria Priscilla Senerpida Melendres claims a 9.5-hectare portion of a 17-hectare property in Barangay Paknaan, which the officials said is rightfully owned by the City Government.

Melendres sent a letter-complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022, asking it to file cases of trespassing, and showing of inappropriate documents to commit such trespassing, against Florentino Nimor, lawyer Giovanni Tianero, Samuel Cui, Jefferson Cello, Jayson Cortes, Ayan Palawan, Ryan Ilagan, Luemil Cacañero, Jovil Limotan, Julito Lubiranes, Nelson Banquiao, Randy Ramirez, and Noli Marinduque who she said introduced themselves as “assessors from the engineering department” when they showed up at her property in June.

Deception

In the complaint, Melandres also charged Acting Assistant City Assessor Julius Ceasar Entise with deception as a means to trespass, grave abuse of authority and oppression; and City Legal Officer Nenita Ceniza-Layese of degrading the authority and functions of government, incompetence, violation of the equal protection clause of the 1987 Constitution and violation of due process.

Melendres said the officials headed by Entise had gone to her property on June 14 to inspect it.

The group of 13 men led by Entise gained entry to the property by showing the security guards what the guards believed to be a government order.

She said Entise accused her of illegally setting up a fence around the property.

When she reviewed the document, Melendres said her name was not on it, as it was a Legal Opinion addressed to the City Assessor’s Office with the Subject: “Legal Opinion on the Entry to the Fenced Area claimed by Raul Canoy and/or Leonisa Mapula.”

On June 17, she said she received a legal order issued by Layese requiring her to remove the fence within five days.

Melendres said she had a fencing permit application pending before the Office of the Building Official since February.

She said the land was bequeathed to her by her late grandmother Pastora Senerpida, as stated in the tax declaration form.

She said Entise and Layese abused their positions and power as government officials to harass and intimidate her.

Foreshore lease deal

In an interview with reporters on Thursday, Aug. 25, Entise said Senerpida was granted a tax declaration form after signing a foreshore lease agreement with the City Government in 1977 and turned the property into a fishpond.

Entise said a tax declaration is merely for taxation purposes and is not equivalent to a land title.

He added that the agreement expired in 2002 yet.

Entise said the national government granted the city government authority over foreshore land and submerged areas in the city, including the area in Paknaan, as stated in Section 94 of the Charter of Mandaue City Act.

Entise said they would investigate the survey plan conducted by a geodetic engineer hired by the claimant stating the questioned property is 44 hectares.

“Diin man nang 44 hectares? Based on our initial investigation, ang ilahang pag-mark niabot na ngadto’s dagat. Nag-bangka na gani (Where did they get that figure of 44 hectares? From what I know, their survey reached the water already using a boat),” Entise said.

Entise and his team demolished some structures in the area on Thursday.

Layese, in a phone interview, said the City based its claim on the Charter of Mandaue City Act.

As for the alleged misleading document used to gain entry to Melendres’ property, Layese said it was not meant for Melendres but for the claimant of the adjacent land.

According to the legal officer, there are three other claimants within the 17-hectare property.

The city government plans to construct temporary housing in the area to serve as relocation sites for informal settlers living within the three-meter easement of the city’s major rivers, particularly the Butuanon River.