Garcia to police: Be circumspect in the exercise of powers
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Acting Cebu City Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia is asking the police to be circumspect in receiving and granting requests for police assistance especially in implementing eviction orders.
Garcia said there is a need to verify requests and make sure that requirements under the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) are complied with to also protect the interest of the affected families.
The acting mayor’s concerns were contained in a letter which he sent Police Brigadier General Roque Edwardo Vega, director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), through the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO).
“This is to request your good office to continue to be very circumspect in its exercise of its powers, specifically under PCUP Commission Resolution No. 05 which requires the PNP to verify documents submitted before issuing the needed Certifications for Requests of Police Assistance in Demolition or Eviction Activities under the Urban Development and Housing Act,” Garcia said in his letter dated July 18.
Garcia was especially referring to the Lot 937 located in Barangay Apas that is now subject of a civil case.
The Cebu City government would like to become an ‘intervenor’ in the case in order to also protect the interest of the residents “which it cannot yet suitably relocate.”
Garcia said it is also important to constantly coordinate with the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP), which serves as a “direct link of the urban poor to the government in policy formulation and program implementation addressing their needs.”
Earlier, families of retired soldiers asked the Cebu City government to assist them in protecting their homes from impending demolition due to ownership issues affecting Lot 937, which is about 4.6 hectare, located in Sitio San Miguel, Barangay Apas.
Anne Martel, president of Archangels Resident’s Merger Inc. (Armi), told CDN Digital in an earlier interview that Lot 937 was purchased by the Cebu City government in 1939 to provide housing for soldiers who are stationed in Camp Lapu Lapu in Barangay Lahug. Their families also started to reside in the area in the 1960s and started to build permanent homes there as they were banking on the city government’s promise of permanent residency.
In 2019, Martel said there were at least 200 families or at least 1,000 individuals living at the military housing site.
The residents’ problems began in 2010, when Mariano Godinez claimed ownership of the property and requested that the houses built there be demolished.
In his letter, Garcia said, he recently became aware that the Office of the Solicitor General raised a prejudicial question as to whether or not the parties enumerated in the notice to Implement Writ of Demolition served upon the residents of the controversial lot were parties to the civil case because no ejectment case was ever filed against them by Godinez.
“Mariano Godinez is deceased and there is no record of any party filing the necessary motion to substitute the petitioner, thereby making the proceedings that lead to the issuance of the demolition order deserving of a fact finding by the Cebu City Council,” Garcia added.
Garcia said there were no indications as to the failure to comply with the rules and regulations of the PCUP, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the police, and the Cebu City government through the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor.
“It is my hope that your office, in carrying out the mandate of serving and protecting our constituents, we could work together in ensuring that development does not come at the price of leaving the families of our soldiers without homes,” he said.
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