IF NEED be, Cebu City Hall will employ a battery of lawyers to represent the Apas residents whose homes face demolition after a court upheld the ruling issued by the Court of Appeals against them.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said this as he disclosed that he wrote the CA (Court of Appeals) to seek reconsideration for an extension to the families in sitio San Miguel, barangay Apas, until a suitable relocation site is prepared for them.
Rama said the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP) needs to have some lawyers to represent the residents and deal with other cases where the city government has a stake in.
The DWUP will coordinate with these lawyers to build their case for the residents, who are families of retired soldiers. “We cannot say that their case will be resolved immediately,” Rama told reporters after meeting with the residents.
Residents like Anne Serana, secretary of the Archangels Residents Mergence Inc. (ARMI) which counts 168 Apas families as members, said they will welcome anyone who can help them.
Another resident, 60-year-old Joel Trompeta, said they won’t resort to violent protests. “As a retired soldier, I want to keep my community peaceful,” Trompeta told Cebu Daily News.
Despite this, he said the families are adamant about staying put in their homes despite a court-ordered demolition against them. During Rama’s meeting with the residents, the mayor offered a possible relocation site for them.
However, the residents refused, saying the land value is too much for them. Rama also said his plan to file a libel suit against Rep. Tomas Osmeña of Cebu City’s south district is the least of his priorities.
The congressman and former mayor claimed that Rama and his runningmate Councilor Edgardo Labella is using the plight of the residents to further enhance their candidacies in next year’s elections.
Osmeña accused Labella of conflict of interest, saying the councilor shares office space Roberto Palmares, lawyer of lot owner Mariano Godinez. /Correspondents Tweeny M. Malinao and Caryl Baylon and Chief of Reporters Doris C. Bongcac