BAGUIO CITY – The city’s Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 5 denied the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction prayed for by the 65 owners of alleged illegal structures within the 5,000-hectarre Bontoc-Ifugao-Bontoc-Apayao-Kalinga (BIBAK) property along Harrison road seeking to stop the implementation of a demolition order issued by the city government against the illegal structures that were erected on the area.
In a 5-page order, Judge Maria Ligaya V. Itliong-Rivera said it is not contested that petitioners’ structures are on that parcel of land covered by OCT No. 1 owned by the Republic of the Philippines which is not alienable and disposable per the Certificate issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on August 20, 2015.
“Petitioners’ main argument in claiming that they have the right to the protection of an injunctive writ is their alleged long time possession. It must be stressed however, that as stated in the letter of OIC Regional Director Paquito T. Moreno, Jr. of the DENR-CAR, petitioners’ occupation has no legal basis and neither can be qualified as beneficiaries under Republic Act (RA) No. 10023 or the law authorizing the issuance of free patents to residential lands because the lot is not alienable and disposable. Thus, the position of the petitioners, no matter how long could never ripen into ownership or possessory right,” the decision stated.
Further, the court found out that the petitioners are not entitled to the issuance of an injunctive writ because they have not right to the property on which their structures stand.
Earlier, the 65 alleged informal settlers in the BIBAK property prayed for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction to prevent the city government from implementing a demolition order for the removal of the illegal structures which they erected on the identified government property which was declared not alienable and disposable by the DENR.
The city government filed its opposition to the granting of the prayed writ alleging among others that the land on which all the 65 structures subject of the demolition order are erected on a property covered by OCT No. 1 registered under the Name of the Republic of the Philippines.
The city government cited the issuance of the demolition order was spurred by events that happened way back in 2013, the initial one being the meeting of the city peace and order council whose members compose the representatives of different government agencies and private sectors where the issue of squatting between the SSS building and the former BIBAK dormitory was raised.
In its position paper, the city government stated that the 65 structures are not covered by building permits, thus, notices of demolition was issued.
On May 28, 2014, the owners of the structures wrote President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III requesting for the deferment of the demolition and the same letter was endorsed to |Environment Secretary Ramon Paje, who, in turn, referred the matter to the OIC Regional Director of DENR-CAR, Engr. Paquito T. Moreno, Jr., who, in a letter addressed to Malacañang, said that their office cannot endorse the petition of the structure owners because their occupation is without any legal basis, the subject land not being alienable and disposable.
Moreno also expressed support to the move of the city government to demolish the structures because the owners did not comply with the directives in the notices of demolition for them to present their pertinent documents. By Dexter A. See