Editorial: Ceasefire in Barangay Apas

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Saturday, March 8, 2014

It’s good that Regional Trial Cort (RTC) Judge Soliver Peras finally ordered Sheriff Edilberto Suarin “not to touch anything” in Sitio San Miguel, Barangay Apas, thereby blanketing with judicial imprimatur the stoppage of the demolition of structures there.

Suarin’s implementation of an order from Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) Judge Pamela Baring-Uy to demolish structures inside lots 947 and 942 had been stymied the past few days for other reasons.

Sun.Star Cebu editorial cartoon on Barangay Apas demolition
Sun.Star Cebu editorial cartoon

The first was when a member of the demolition crew was arrested for stealing and the second was when it was found out that a minor was hired as member of the crew. The first was a police matter while the second concerned the Department of Labor and Employment.


The stoppage looked more like products of a successful maneuvering by government officials who are siding with the residents than a result of a legal tussle. Apas Barangay Captain Ramil Ayuman, who is supporting the cause of his constituents, is an ally of Mayor Michael Rama.

The perception is that city government officials are using the power at their disposal to scuttle the right of the lot owners to recover their properties.

Having said that, Suarin and Aletha Suico-Magat, who claimed ownership to the properties, should not have rushed to implement the demolition order even as the affected residents are still seeking relief from the RTC. What if Peras ends up ruling in favor of the residents but the latter’s houses have already been demolished?

The better stance is to resolve first all the legal questions raised in court before going ahead with the demolition of the structures, if ever.

Meanwhile, Cebu City Councilor Alvin Dizon is correct when he voiced suspicions about what he described as “systematic land grabbing” in the city. Indeed, some lots previously thought to have been publicly owned are suddenly being possessed by private entities, resulting in the displacement of many families.

One gets the impression that some unscrupulous people are into the business of acquiring public lands in the name of supposed heirs and then profiting from the effort.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 08, 2014.


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