SC allows Cordova to expropriate private lots

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita August 24,2016 - 10:57 PM

THE municipality of Cordova can now continue with expropriation proceedings on private lots where they plan to construct a road access into their municipal roll on/roll-off (RO-RO) port.

In a decision dated June 29, but received by parties last week, the Supreme Court (SC) upheld the state’s power to eminent domain in acquiring private properties for projects for the general welfare of the public.

“There is indeed a necessity for the taking of the subject properties as these would provide access towards the RO-RO port being constructed in the municipality. The construction of the new road will highly benefit the public as it will enable shippers and passengers to gain access to the port from the main public road or highway,” read the decision penned by SC Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta and concurred by other justices in the third division.

Outgoing Cordova Vice Mayor Adelino Sitoy welcomed the decision, saying it would help the municipality’s RO-RO port, which currently has twice a day trips from Cordova to Getafe, Bohol.

Although there is now a makeshift road leading to the port from the highway, Sitoy said it would be better if the expropriation of the private lots will push through for the construction of a more convenient road access.

“It’s good, at least the Supreme Court upheld the local government and the power of eminent domain. We wanted to open that road since it’s a good access to the RO-RO port. But it was opposed by the private owners,” Sitoy told CDN in a phone interview.

It was in February 2011 when the municipality of Cordova enacted an ordinance to expropriate portions of privately owned lots for the road access for the port. The ordinance also authorized the mayor of the town to initiate and execute necessary expropriation proceedings.

The town wanted more than 10,000 square meters of land from Pathfinder Development Corporation and another more than 5,000 square meters of land from Topanga Development Corp. for the road project.

But in March 2011, Pathfinder and Topanga filed a case in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Mandaue City asking to nullify the ordinance of Cordova saying they didn’t receive any offer to buy from the municipality. They also asked to suspend the expropriation proceedings.

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TAGS: Adelino Sitoy, Cordova, Supreme Court

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