Hospital ‘to rise’ on Apas demolition site

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Monday, March 10, 2014

THE claimant of two lots in Sitio San Miguel, Barangay Apas, Cebu City said her family plans to construct a modern hospital in the area.

Aletha Suico-Magat also denied her family is a “syndicated land-grabber,” saying lots 942 and 947 belonged to her grandfather before these were used as part of the airport in adjacent Barangay Lahug.

She said her brother, who is a doctor in the US, supported her financially to reclaim the lots.


Her brother and other Filipino doctors plan to build the hospital, she said in a radio dySS interview yesterday.

The structures of 157 families occupying the lots were ordered to be demolished by Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) Branch 6 Judge Pamela Baring-Uy.

Magat said she started going to court to reclaim the lots in the 1990s while her father was still alive.

“This was my promise to him to get our lots back,” she said in Cebuano.

Two years ago, the Supreme Court ordered the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority to return lots 942 and 947 to Magat’s family, the Suicos.


The residents, however, insisted that the Provincial Government owns the lots. They said the Province’s ownership is covered by Executive Order 20, which was issued on June 9, 1918 by the Office of the Governor General of the Philippines.

Her lawyer Mark Anthony Gaviola said Magat’s family, the Suicos, is the registered owner.

He said the transfer of certificate of title is “currently registered in the name” of his client’s family.

Last Thursday, Regional Trial Court (RTC) Executive Judge Soliver Peras ordered MTCC Branch 6 sheriff Edilberto Suarin to halt the demolition pending his resolution on the petition for preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order filed by lawyer Feliciano Payot, who represents majority of the families.


Lawyer Benjamin Militar, who assists 39 families, also made a legal action against the demolition.

His partial motion for reconsideration is still pending before RTC Branch 9 Judge Alexander Acosta. He filed the motion after Acosta denied his motion to suspend the writ of demolition last Tuesday.

Magat said her family was not able to build a house on the lots.

“Maayo pa sila nakapahimus sa yuta (At least they were able to enjoy living in the lots),” she said, referring to the occupants.

Gaviola has asked residents not to criticize those who accepted financial assistance from his client.

He said they are still offering between P10,000 and P45,000 to affected families. The payment depends on the size of the structure.

Eight families, he said, have already availed of themselves of the aid.

More families

Meanwhile, more families may lose their houses after four more lots have been subjected to an ejectment case.

This was disclosed by Apas Barangay Captain Ramil Ayuman and officials of the St. Michael Homeowners’ Association.

Some 120 families on lots 943, 944, 945 and 946 may share the fate of the 157 families on lots 942 and 947.

Ayuman said an ejectment case was filed by Richard Unchuan against the occupants in

This, after Unchuan was able to get the rights over a portion of the properties from two of the six heirs of the four lots.

According to Ayuman, the lots are owned by Generoso Lopez. Two of his heirs, Myrna Lopez-Terol and Roberto Lopez, have already given up their share.

Ayuman presented a copy of the deed of assignment in the case of Myrna and a copy of deed of absolute in the case of Roberto to the media yesterday.

Based on the documents, the two heirs “convey to the vendee (Unchuan) all the rights and interests participation over his pro-indivso share consisting 1/6 portion of the undivided property.”

In 2012, Ayuman said the MTCC ordered the occupants of the four lots to voluntarily vacate the properties.

The homeowners’ association, however, filed a petition for injunction before the RTC.

The matter is pending.

Rosalinda Leogan, president of the homeowners’ association, believes Unchuan has no right to have them evicted since the Lopezes are not the rightful owners of the four properties.

Based on records of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office, the four properties are owned by Quintin Vercide.

Leogon said the homeowners’ association has a pending case questioning the Lopezes ownership of the lots. The case dates back to the 1990s yet, she said.

Ayuman said he will ask the City Government, through the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor and the Land Management Council, to look for and negotiate with Vercide.


Ayuman said he wants the City to ask Vercide to sell the lots to the current occupants so they won’t lose their homes.

In another development, Cebu City formed Task Force Land for the Landless to prevent another Apas incident and to possibly solve the problem involving Provincial Ordinance 93-1.

It will be presided by Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella. Its aim is to solve land tenurial problems.

“The aim here, as the name itself states, is to give land to the landless within the City’s territorial jurisdiction. This was triggered by the back-to-back demolition in the City,” said lawyer Janeses Ponce, the presiding officer of the Land Management Council.

Too late

Ponce said that with the demolition in Apas, the City intervened too late.

It was not told about the pending demolition until the court order was issued.

The City wants to prevent so the first order of business for the task force is to conduct an inventory of all lots in the City’s jurisdiction.

These will be identified through its location, land area and ownership.

An executive order will formalize the existence of the task force, which will also have Councilors Alvin Dizon and Hanz Abella as members. Dizon is the chairperson of the committee on housing in the Council.

The Land Management Council, which is composed of different national agencies and departments, also has a seat in the task force.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 11, 2014.

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