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Lahug resident asks OP to probe Cortes, 4 others for ‘land grabbing’

By: Futch Anthony Inso - CDN Digital Correspondent | April 15,2024 - 09:44 PM

cortes land grabbing

Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes. | CDN Digital file photo

LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu – A resident of Brgy. Lahug in Cebu City has asked the Office of the President (OP) to investigate Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes and four city councilors for oppression, gross misconduct, and grave abuse of authority.

Maria Priscilla Melendres’ complaint stemmed from the city’s claim of ownership of a property in Zone Ahos in Brgy. Paknaan that she also claims to own.

With the filing of her complaint dated March 19, 2024, Melendres asked the OP to preventively suspend Cortes and City Councilors Maline Cortes-Zafra, Oscar del Castillo, Jen Del Mar, and Cynthia Remedio for violation of Section 60 of the Local Government Code.

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If proven guilty of the charges against them, Melendres wants all of the respondents removed from office.

Earlier, Melendres also filed a separate complaint for violation of the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act against Cortes and and several others before the Office of the Ombudsman in Diliman, Quezon City.

Mayor Cortes is yet to comment on the filing of a complaint against him before the OP.

Remedio, for her part, begged off from issuing any statements for now.

READ: Mandaue City councilor questions plan to purchase P4M van

Meanwhile, Del Mar said that is yet to receive a copy of the complaint.

“Wala man ko kabaw ana nga case, wala pa sad na miabot sa amoa. But in case, wala sad ko ka-remember nga naka-violate ko niya,” Del Mar said.

Grave abuse

In her affidavit of complaint to the OP, Melendres said that she owns a parcel of land in Zone Ahos, Brgy. Paknaan that she purchased from her grandmother in 2017.

She has in her possession a tax declaration to prove her ownership of the property.  In addition, she also paid real property taxes for her property in 2023.

READ: Attendance of 4 lawyers in Mandaue session questioned

However, the Mandaue City government has declared ownership of the lot pursuant to Section 94 of Republic Act N o. 5519 or An Act Creating the City of Mandaue — Ownership of Lands of Public Domain Within the City of Mandaue.

Melendres said that prior to the filing of her complaint before the OP, she also filed a complaint against Cortes and several others before the Office of the Ombudsman for trespassing.

The other respondents of her complaint dated September 9, 2022 included members of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), PNP personnel, and city hall employees who allegedly entered her property without her consent and in the absence of a court order.

READ: Mandaue to build P81M world-class sports center in Paknaan

Making matters worst, the city government subdivided and awarded the property, which is subject of the ejectment case, to some city residents, Melendres claimed.

‘Land grabbing’

In her complaint, Melendres said that employees of the Housing and Urban Development Office (HUDO) at City Hall also recently destroyed the fence that she installed on her property while the ejectment case that she filed against the city government remains pending in court.

“The illegal occupation continued on the following [day] March 15, 2024, at around 10:00 a.m. more or less, HUDO employees of the city again came back and dug up the soil and erected an arch with the signage–Welcome to Ganghaan sa Paknaan,” she added.

According to Melendres, the respondents committed oppression and grave abuse of authority by entering her property and distributing the subdivided lots to some Mandaue City residents despite the still unresolved ejectment case.

“The mayor and city councilors committed land grabbing despite the pendency of the ejectment case,” she said.

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TAGS: barangay Paknaan, Jonas Cortes, Office of the President

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