Temple of Leah closed due to family dispute, faces revocation of business permit

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - CDN Digital Reporter | March 10,2020 - 08:26 PM

The Temple of Leah in Barangay Busay in Cebu City is currently closed due to problems in permits and a raging family dispute. | Delta Letigio

CEBU CITY, Philippines — On an ordinary day, the Temple of Leah is filled with local and foreign tourists being one of the most popular tourist destinations in Cebu City located on top of a hill in scenic Barangay Busay.

However, on Tuesday, March 10, 2020, it was empty saved for some members of the Adarna family and their workers.

Around 3 p.m. of Tuesday, the Cebu City Business Processing and Licensing Permit Office (BPLO) knocked on the temple’s doors and informed the family that the management of the Temple of Leah, the A.S. Adarna Tourism and Recreational Park, is being served a show-cause order for failing to pay their business taxes.

The BPLO failed to meet the supposed respondent of the show-cause order, A.S. Adarna, who was the second wife of Teodorico Adarna, the man who built the temple for his first wife, Leah.

The day before, the heirs of Leah Adarna has successfully taken over the disputed property, and the children of Leah and Teodorico now hold the management of the place.

They were also the ones who filed a complaint to the city government stating that A.S. Adarna Tourism and Recreational Park did not have any rights over the Temple of Leah.

Lawyer Jared Limquiaco, the head of BPLO, said they served the show-cause order nonetheless because the Temple of Leah remains to be the official establishment of the A.S. Adarna Tourism and Recreational Park.

The heirs of Leah Adarna, the muse of the Temple of Leah, claimed ownership of the property and wrote to the Cebu City government to revoke the establishment’s current business permits. | Delta Letigio

Closed, family dispute ongoing

The Temple of Leah has been in the center of a family dispute since the death of Teodorico in 2018. His second wife, 35-year-old A.S. Adarna, took over the management of the tourist spot in “principle” as Teodoro’s wife.

This did not sit well with the living children of Teodorico and Leah, because the temple was built as a tribute to their late mother,

Arlene Adarna, the second child of the couple, said the family did not want the Temple of Leah to be named after her any more and wanted her things out of the place.

“She is taking advantage of my mother’s memory,” said Arlene.

The heirs wanted to claim their rights to the property of their parents, but she said A.S. Adarna refused to give the property over to the heirs. The heirs have filed a case in court to assert their ownership over the property and have been granted the favor recently.

On the evening of March 9, 2020, A.S. Adarna reportedly tried to reclaim the property and even brought the police, but since the case was filed in a civil court and the heirs have the possession of the property’s paper, the police could not intervene.

Arlene said that now that they have the management of the property again, the family is still discussing if they want to open the temple back to the public.

“It will depend now on the family. Maybe we will not name it Temple of Leah anymore because my mother was shy,” said Arlene.

Arlene said that should they open the temple again, they would be getting their governmental permits from scratch.

The Cebu City Business and Licensing Office served a show-cause order by the to the A.S Adarna Tourism and Recreational Park, which manages the Temple Of Leah in Barangay Busay, following the challenge of ownership by the heirs of Leah Adarna, to whom the temple was made, against the current management. | Delta Letigio

Show-Cause Order

Arlene said they wrote to the Cebu City government to revoke the permit of A.S. Adarna Tourism and Recreational Park because it had no right to manage the property.

She said they don’t know how A.S. Adarna managed to “trick” the government to issue the permits, but these should not have been issued.

They wrote a letter to the Cebu City Legal Office  (CLO) on March 6, 2020, to revoke the business permit, which the CLO endorsed to the BPLO

Upon probe, Limquiaco said that A.S. Adarna Tourism and Recreational Park failed to pay its 2019 and 2020 business taxes, prompting the office to issue a show-cause order.

The A.S. Adarna Tourism and Recreational Park will be asked to explain why they failed to comply with their business permits within 72 hours.

Failure to do so would mean revocation of the business permit, disallowing the management and the establishment it represents, the Temple of Leah, to operate as a business unit.

Limquiaco said the city will no longer dip their hands into the family dispute as it is a private matter but will follow the law in accordance with the issuance of business permits.

If the alleged management of the Temple of Leah fails to explain themselves and process the business permits, the top tourist destination will remain close for the time being. /rcg

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