BEFORE the Cebu City Government enters into a compromise agreement with the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) over the joint management of the Compania Maritima, Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella said the executive department should seek authority from the Council first.

In a news conference, Labella said there is still a pending case in court on the ownership of the lot where Compania Maritima stands.

The City should wait for the case to be resolved, said Labella, who is also a lawyer.

Earlier, the CPA filed a complaint for injunction with quieting of title against the City after the latter claimed ownership of Compania Maritima and the lots within its premises.

In July 2013, the administration of former Mayor Michael Rama demolished the fence surrounding the property and converted it into a parking space.

The move prompted CPA to file the injunctive writ.

Labella said the injunction was earlier denied in the lower court but an appeal was filed by CPA, which is still pending before the Court of Appeals.

“If there is an amicable settlement, there is nothing wrong if the Council will be given the reasons and what benefit would it redound to for the City. But, first, we have to seriously consider that the case is pending in court. I would rather say that we will wait,” Labella said.

Mayor Tomas Osmeña earlier said that he is willing to give up the earlier claims of the City over the ownership of the property and accept the offer of CPA to co-manage it.

Osmeña said that he is in favor of the offer because he believes that the property is owned by CPA.

In a letter to Osmeña, Assistant Solicitor General Raymund Rigodon told the City that CPA is willing to settle the case on the ownership of Compania Maritima and other lots within its premises.

Based on the records, the Compania Maritima lot is part of the baseport of Cebu and is considered a property of the government that is under the administration of CPA.

Labella said CPA is claiming ownership of the lot after they were designated by the Philippine Port Authority to use the lot for port operations.

But since it is no longer used as a port, he added that they can no longer claim ownership over it.

On the request of CPA to cancel the City’s tax declaration for the property, Labella said it should also be looked into.