Is the Palace of Justice really unfit for occupancy?
A TEAM of structural engineers will conduct another round of inspections in the Palace of Justice to determine the building’s structural integrity some five months after a powerful earthquake struck Central Visayas.
Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III yesterday said the results of the inspection will be the basis on whether the judiciary will give up the building in favor of the provincial government.
According to the governor, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno asked him to engage structural engineers for a reevaluation of the Palace of Justice as she allegedly finds the report of the Office of the Building Official (OBO) “sketchy”.
The OBO declared the Palace of Justice as among the buildings in the province that is no longer fit for occupancy after it sustained heavy damage following the Oct. 15, 2013 earthquake.
Davide arrived yesterday from Manila where he also met Chief Justice Sereno to personally signify the provincial government’s intention to take over the Palace of Justice which the judiciary vacated.
The Capitol earlier said it intends to use the Palace of Justice to house other offices of the provincial government. The Palace of Justice building is conveniently located between the Executive and Legislative buildings.
“We have yet to talk on the turnover of the building. She told me that she finds the OBO report to be sketchy, so she asked me if we can have it checked again by structural engineers,” he told reporters yesterday.
“So I offered that we in the province, we have a group of structural engineers, the same engineers that inspected the Capitol and the buildings in the compound after the earthquake. That was my word to her,” he added.
Davide said he also reiterated the provincial government’s offer to swap the Palace of Justice with a Capitol-owned property in the Department of Agriculture regional office compound where the judiciary could build a new courthouse.
“I also told her that there’s a lot that was set aside by the Supreme Court in the DA compound. If they are willing to develop the area so that the building can also house the Supreme Court and the Regional Trial Courts,” said Davide.
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