Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama can now proceed with his plan to clear the Citi Center Complex in barangay Kamagayan after the court denied the application for preliminary injunction sought by its occupants.
Judge Ma. Lynn Adviento of the Cebu City Regional Trial Court branch 58, said in an order dated Nov. 26 that she cannot grant an injunction against the eviction order of Rama because the occupants themselves admitted that their stay in the City Hall property has been unauthorized.
“They, therefore, have no vested right to occupy the property. On the other hand, as the undisputed owner of the property, the city government has the right to the possession of the property,” Adviento’s order said.
The court however, directed City Hall to make sure that the eviction will be done in a humane manner.
The court also asked City Hall to extend assistance to the occupants found to be underprivileged and homeless.
Rama thanked the court for its favorable decision. He said City Hall will heed the call for a humane eviction.
He said he has ordered the Department for the Welfare of the Urban Poor to look for relocation sites for the 50 families affected by the eviction order.
Rama said he intends to let the Calungsod thanksgiving Mass and other more important concerns pass before he would sit down with DWUP and discuss the concern of Citi Center occupants.
Asked if he will allow the Citi Center occupants to stay in the area until after the Christmas season, Rama said, “it all depends because we have to be quick because the longer we addess the problem, the more it becomes a problem.”
The Citi Center used to be a privately-owned wet market seized by City Hall over unpaid taxes in 2004.
Rama ordered the eviction last Oct. 29, but deferred its implementation after the occupants went to court.
The City Council dominated by the local opposition Bando Osmeña Pundok Kagawasan supported the occupants in resisting their eviction. /Doris C. Bongcac, Chief of Reporters