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CPA issue: Cebu City to file cases for alleged violations, multiple illegal constructions

By: Kim Ablaña - CTU Intern - CDN Digital | March 15,2024 - 02:30 PM

CPA issue Cebu City cases: Cebu City to file cases for alleged violations, multiple illegal constructions

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama orders installation of a biofence around CPA’s port project near City Hall, halting construction due to permit issues. | Photo by Cebu City News and Information

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Office of the Building Official (OBO) in Cebu City has taken legal action against the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) for the alleged multiple violations related to unauthorized construction activities within the port area.

This action comes after CPA persisted in building multiple buildings in the port area without the necessary permits despite multiple warnings.

Lawyer Carlo Vincent Gimena, the city legal officer, and OBO chief architect Florante Catalan led the filing of complaints at the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas, pointing out CPA’s alleged violation of the construction regulations.

READ: Rama stops CPA port project due to permit issues

Further, Gimena clarified that CPA’s activities were against Presidential Decree No. 1096 which requires obtaining building licenses from the local government before starting any development or the National Building Code of the Philippines.

The defiance of authority resulted in the filing of “criminal and administrative” complaints on Friday, March 15.

Criminal charges include 18 counts of National Building Code violations, Usurpation of Authority, and the violation of Sec. (3) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

The administrative complaints are said to include grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

Furthermore, Glenn Castillo, a former general manager of the CPA, and Francisco Comendador III, a current general manager, are listed as respondents to the allegations.

“Respondents’ violation of Section 301 of P.D. No. 1096 is undeniable. Their acts are willful and intentional. Despite the several notices given by our office, they continue to refuse to follow the law and instead, they keep on making more incursions,” a section of the legal action from OBO reads.

The case was brought about by several notices of violation that OBO issued since February 2023 over the illegal construction of 15 structures inside CPA’s CIP Complex and piers.

READ: CPA continues project construction despite Rama’s stoppage order

Meanwhile, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama expressed that he was confused as to why CPA had blatantly ignored the government’s authority about the stoppage order of its construction.

“Wala’y isog kung walay gisandigan. Ug kinsa man akong hunahunaon nga gisandigan nila? Dili man si Marcos, dili sad si Duterte,” Rama said in Ingna’ng Mayor over Sugboanon Channel on March 14.

(No one is aggressive if he has no one to lean on. And who will be in one’s mind that they can lean on? It is not Marcos, It is not Duterte.)

ALSO READ: DOTr: No layoff risk for airport workers

Moreover, he suspected that some people, particularly some “business people” with alleged interests in Cebu City, have influenced CPA’s disobedience.

“Naa dinhi na, mga tawo nga gustong maentra og negosyo dinhi sa siyudad sa Sugbo,” Rama remarked.

(They are here, people who want to enter in business here in the city of Cebu.)

He also did not ignore that certain local officials might have supported CPA’s defiance against the city.

Rama cited two local officials whom he wished did not support the CPA’s actions and that he wished that one of them might not have been part of it.

Further, he said he plans to meet with Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista to discuss on several matters including CPA as it falls under its jurisdiction.| with reports from Cebu City News and Information

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