Posted on February 28, 2011


Man seeks court’s help to recover government hospital lot

By Ador Vincent Mayol, Reporter

He wants his property back.

Saying he has the documents to support his claim, Carlos Anton Rallos Jr. has sought the intervention of the Cebu City court to recover the 17,254-square meter lot which is presently occupied by a government-owned hospital and several informal settlers.

In his complaint, Rallos wants Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC), Dr. Gerardo Aquino Jr., who is the VSMMC Medical Center chief, and the households to immediately vacate lot number 482-A located along B. Rodriguez Street in barangay Sambag II, Cebu City.

Rallos, who claims to be one of the heirs of the late Simeon Rallos and a co-owner of the lot where the government hospital stands, also demanded from each of the defendants payment for the use and possession of the lot in an amount that will be proven during court trial and in “no case less than P2,000 for every month of dispossession with 6 percent interest per annum reckoned from the date of the filing of the complaint until they vacate and turn over the possession” to its owner.

Rallos, through his lawyer Terence Fernandez, also required the VSMMC and other defendants to pay for moral and exemplary damages; attorney's fees, litigation expenses, and costs of the suit “in no case less than P100,000.”

Rallos in his complaint claimed that he already gave formal demand letters to the defendants asking them to vacate the lot. But he claimed that this went unheeded.

“Plaintiff made repeated and incessant demands upon defendants to vacate Lot No. 482-A. Although they made assurances that they would vacate the subject property, nothing came out of these assurances,” Fernandez said in their complaint.

“These demands fell on deaf ears because they don't only ignored them but also unjustly and unlawfully refused to vacate the lot to the damage and prejudice of plaintiff,” the lawyer added.

VSMMC spokesman Nonoy Mongaya declined to issue a statement in reaction to the complaint filed against the hospital.

Mongaya said VSMMC officials have yet to receive a copy of the complaint filed before the Regional Trial Court.

“Magpaabot pa mi sa official (complaint) before mi makahatag og response. (We will wait for the official complaint before we will make a response.) It's a legal case. I'm not in the position to talk about it,” Monagaya told Cebu Daily News over the phone.

The complaint is set to be raffled to a judge today.

In his complaint, Rallos claimed to be among the heirs of Simeon Rallos and has the right over the lot occupied by VCMMC and the informal settlers.

As evidence by a Transfer Certificate of Title, Rallos said he along with other heirs are the “true, lawful, and absolute owners” of the lot.

He said the property remains undivided.

Several years ago, Rallos said the Republic of the Philippines “unlawfully” entered the property and occupied some portions of the lot.

Eventually, he said the national government extended and built some of the medical facilities of the VSMMC on the lot.

Rallos said informal settlers also unlawfully entered the lot and built makeshift homes without their knowledge and consent.

The plaintiff said Lot No. 482-A has an assessed value of P1,239,650 since it is classified as a residential lot.

Rallos said the Cebu City government has imposed substantial increases in the real property taxes on all the realties located in the city.

“With the escalation of real property taxes, plantiff and his other co-heirs realized that they have to recover possession of the lot and to devote the same to a more fruitful use,” his lawyer said.

Despite several demands, he said the defendants refused to vacate the lot.

Rallos then decided to file a complaint in court to compel the defendants to vacate the lot.

“By reason of the grossly unlawful acts of defendants in refusing to vacate Lot No. 482-A after lawful demand, plaintiff and his co-heirs were not only deprived of their possession of the subject lot but they were also prevented from devoting the same for more profitable and fruitful means,” Fernandez said.

Hence, Fernandez said his client is entitled to the payment of actual damages consisting of the “fair rental value” for the use of the lot.

Also, Fernandez said his client suffered “sleepless nights, wounded feelings, and serious anxiety” because of the “callous and unlawful acts of dispossession” committed by the defendants.

“In depriving plaintiff of the fruitful use of the property, defendants have unconscionably trampled upon the former's rights. Defendants should be condemned to compensate plaintiff,” the lawyer said.

The plaintiff asked the court to order the defendants to “surrender and turn over” possession of the lot.

Also, the defendants should “remove all constructions and improvements.”

VSMMC is owned by the Philippine government.

The establishment aims to provide health care services that are available, affordable, accessible and acceptable to all regardless of social status.

Its operation started as early as 1911 when it was then known as hospital Del Sur and was formally established on April 11, 1913.

On Jan. 2, 1913, its name was then changed to Southern Islands Hospital with only 30 beds at its inception, it then become 350 beds when it was upgraded to medical center in 1984.

On May 21, 1992, the hospital was known as the VSMMC.

Presently, the government-owned hospital is under the supervision of the Department of Health.

Cebu Daily News tried to contact DOH-7 Director Susana Madarieta but she didn't answer the calls.

Capitol Consultant Rory Jon Sepulveda said the Cebu provincial government have no idea about the case yet.

But he said the province can do something to help VSMMC.

“Maghuna-huna sa mi unsaon namo pagtabang ang Vicente Sotto. (The province has yet to think on how we can help VSMMC),” he said.

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