Court freezes eviction order for Citi Center

Posted on November 9, 2012

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OCCUPANTS facing eviction in the the Cebu City government-owned Citi Center Commercial Complex in barangay Kamagayan can remain in the property for at most 20 days.

A status quo order was issued by the court on Nov. 7.

“That is just temporary,” said Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama who expressed confidence it would be lifted soon.

Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Ma. Lynna Adviento ordered parties to maintain the status quo for an “unextendible period of 20 days” until the occupants’ application for an injunction is heard and resolved.

During the court hearing, occupants argued that any eviction is illegal and that the mayor failed to provide a relocation site or financial assistance in case they get evicted.

They said they have been occupying the site since 2000 when it was still a privately-run wet market and that they paid monthly renatl to the original land owner.

For failure to pay taxes, the city government levied the property in 2004 and stopped collecting renatl payments.

A notice of eviction and demolition was issued by City Hall last Oct. 19.

Mayor Rama said he’s not worried about the case and would let his legal team headed by City Administrator Jose Marie Poblete take care of it.

He said City Hall can continue what it has been doing in the property like fencing and fielding security personnel.

“We take the status quo order to mean that anything that we were doing in the area before is still allowable except the eviction of its occupants,” he said.

Mayor Rama wanted the center cleared for use in the city’s night dweller program. In the long run, he plans to set up a housing project there for City Hall employees.

The next hearing of the case is set on Nov. 14. /Ador Vincent Mayol and Edison delos Angeles

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