Capitol revives plans on tearing down condemned Palace of Justice
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Reelected Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia is sticking with her plans to tear down the iconic and now-condemned Marcelo Fernan Palace of Justice.
During a brief meeting with Senior Associate Justice Marvic Leonen last Tuesday, May 31, Garcia took the opportunity to raise the matter to the Supreme Court (SC) once again.
Leonen on Tuesday paid a courtesy visit to Garcia at the Capitol where the High Court is conducting the signing of the Roll of Attorneys for Bar passers in the Visayas from May 30 to June 3.
Garcia, in a brief interview with reporters, said she and Leonen discussed, among others, the fate of the Marcelo Fernan Palace of Justice, which was declared inhabitable by building officials in 2013 due to the damages it incurred from the 7.2-magnitude earthquake and Super Typhoon Yolanda.
“He told me he will bring it up to Chief Justice (Alexander) Gesmundo and we hope we can move forward (from) there,” Garcia said.
“He (Leonen) is aware that it is really an eye store… So we hope that this issue may finally be resolved,” she added.
When she was reelected back to the Capitol in 2019, part of Garcia’s plans included destroying the old Palace of Justice and redeveloping the site.
The governor, in turn, formally wrote letters to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the SC, stating the Capitol’s intentions.
If given the go-signal from DOJ and the SC, Garcia said she is considering erecting another building to house more offices under the provincial government, or partnering with the private sector for other possible uses.
“We deem it best to tear this down actually so that we do not expose occupants to the risk of this building,” she explained.
According to news archives, there is no usufruct agreement between the Capitol and the judiciary over the Marcelo Fernan Palace of Justice. A usufruct would allow a person or a party to use, benefit or generate income from a property that belonged to another person or party.
The Marcelo Fernan Palace of Justice previously housed all trial courts in Cebu City and the offices of the provincial and city prosecutors.
After authorities ordered the building to be vacated permanently, Cebu City’s trial courts have been moved to Qimonda Building in North Reclamation Area (NRA).
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