CA upholds RTC ruling on Favis case

BAGUIO CITY – The Court of Appeals upheld the Regional Trial Court’s ruling denying the petition of the heirs of Antonio Favis for injunction and issuance of a temporary restraining order to stop the city from demolishing the structure known as Favis building on a city-owned lot located at the City Market Subd.

In a decision dated June 14, the CA dismissed the petition for certiorari and issuance of a TRO and an injunction filed by the heirs for lack of basis.

The court said there was no “grave and patent abuse of discretion” in the RTC’s dismissal of the petition dated Nov. 19, 2014 and in the subsequent denial of the petitioners’ notice of appeal dated Dec. 4 and 8, 2014 and thus did not merit the grant of the remedy of certiorari.

The court pointed out that that RTC “acted within the bounds of law” as the ruling denying the petitioners’ motion for reconsideration was based on jurisprudence as the appeal was filed beyond the reglamentary period and thus made the Nov. 19, 2014 ruling final and executor.

“Even if we overlook this procedural lapse which proved fatal to the petitioners’ cause, we likewise find no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the RTC when it granted the demurrer to evidence and dismissed the petition,” the appellate court said.

The court said the petitioners failed to show that his right over the property is “clear and unmistakable” and thus cannot be entitled to the writ of injunction.

According to the court, the petitioners admitted that the 2007 lease contract with the city government on which they base their claim over the property had been entered into by former mayor Reinando Bautista Jr. without prior authorization of the city council.

“Clearly, when the local chief executive enters into contracts, the law speaks of prior authorization or authority from the Sangguniang Panlungsod.  A contract entered into by a local chief executive without such prior authorization is deemed unenforceable under Article 1403 of the Civil Code..,” the court said.

Court records said the structure was built in the 1960s. After it was razed by fire in 1976, it was restored without a building permit.

Antonio Favis was issued a building permit in 1979 but for the construction of a barangay center and store spaces him being a barangay councilman at that time.

The subject property is not included in the lots leased to JARCO Realty and Development Corporation but the city issued a demolition order in 2013 to remove the structure which prompted the petitioners to file a case against the city officials on June 14, 2013 for injunction with prayer for issuance of TRO and injunction.

The said case was dismissed by the RTC which also annulled the 2007 contract of lease executed by then mayor Bautista.

By  Aileen P. Refuerzo

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