Judge orders Baguio gov’t: Explain fencing of Asin lot, barring of folks from homes

>> Tuesday, July 4, 2017

TUBA, Benguet – Judge Modesto Bahul of the 5th Municipal Trial Court, First Judicial Region, Tuba-Sablan has ordered the Baguio City government to explain within 10 days why it barred folks here from entering their homes by fencing and installing a gate at the road to the hydro power plant and Sinot Resort here at Sitio Asin, Barangay Nangalisan over a property which it claimed as its own.
In a court hearing here, Bahul told lawyer Reden Diwas, who represented the city government to answer in writing why the city should not be cited in contempt for fencing and installing the gate without furnishing the court a copy of the survey plan specifying technical description of the property.
 Following this, a source said Tuba mayor Ignacio R. Rivera is studying the filing of a case against the city government for fencing the area over the controversial lot last June 2.
Baguio Mayor Mauricio Domogan on Friday however urged sobriety among stakeholders saying the issue was a “little problem” which could be solved through dialogue.
Asin folks said the gate had been closed since then and residents had to pass through properties of their neighbors so they could reach their homes.
Affected folks earlier wrote Rivera in a petition letter dated June 20 urging him to intercede in their behalf considering the Tuba Municipal Assessor’s Office had issued a certification on June 8 saying, “The City of Baguio has no registered property at Barangay Nangalisan.”
A copy of the letter was also received by the Dept. of Interior and Local Government on June 21.
“On June 15, 2017, the security guard locked and chained the gates. He showed us a memo from (Baguio City) Mayor Mauricio Domogan ordering them to padlock the gate at all times to prevent/avoid unauthorized person/group to enter the premises,” residents told Rivera in their letter.
They said memorandum No. 164, Series of 2017 was signed by Domogan on June 6 “ordering all security guards of Sidekick Force Investigation and Security Services Inc. stationed at Asin Hot Spring Resort and Hydro Electric Power Plant in Nangalisan, Tuba to prevent the use of the swimming pools at all times until the City Government of Baguio permits use of the same, monitor and record all untoward incident and report the same immediately to the city government through the City General Services Office and maintain/ monitor peace and order in the area of responsibility. For your strict compliance.”
In their letter to Rivera, residents said they were denied access to their homes. They said the city government violated the Building Code by failing to comply with requirements of the law in relation to Section 213. They said the city government was also not paying taxes to Tuba.
Those who signed the letter included the Claro, Bangao and Sinot families who own lots where their houses stand and surroundings.
These arose when the city government tried to implement writ of execution as ordered by the 5th Municipal Trial Court, First Judicial Region, Tuba-Sablan over a property which the Baguio City government claimed as its own.
Domogan said Roger Sinot, the Indigenous People’s Mandatory Representative –elect to the Baguio City Council should vacate the resort.
Sinot, however said the technical metes and bounds of the area should be established first since the property which the city claims as its own may not be the same property.
He said he owns most of the land area in the resort and if ever anybody or an entity like the city government owns any lot in the site, it would be just a few meters. He said he bought the lot from his uncle.   
Sinot’s lawyer Francis Rae G. Camtugan 11, filed motion to quash writ of execution on June 1 with said court.
The motion asked the “sheriff to furnish copies of the court-approved survey plan and approving such plan to the Philippine National Police and Punong Barangay of Nangalisan for the proper implementation of writ of execution.”             
He asked the court to furnish relevant orders and motives to the PNP headquarters and Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor.
Camtugan said the survey plan prepared by engineer Marcos A. Badongen of CENRO, La Trinidad, Benguet and officer Eugene Buyuccan of the City General Services Office, Sheriff Joselito Tumbaga and Fabrico K. Guyun was not submitted to the court and no order emanated from the court approving the same.
“That is why the attempted execution became chaotic last June 2, 2017,” the motion said. “A city official was ordering our client to stop operations. That is absurd for there is nothing in the writ stating such. The writ reads “the subject parcel of land with an area of 4,34423 square meters located at Nangalisan, Tuba, Benguet with improvements consisting of a swimming pool, bath houses, hydroelectric plant and roads are and surrender the possession thereof peacefully to plaintiff” and it does not include entirety of the resort.”
Camtugan said “even the survey plan prepared by the sheriff shows that only a portion of the resort is affected. Fences were erected in gross violation of the law. The national Building Code penalizes the erection of structures without first obtaining a building permit from the building official assigned in the place where the subject building is located.” 
He said a hearing must he held first since there may be other persons in the subject property. “There is a need to quash or modify the writ so as to insert the technical descriptions of the subject property with an attached copy of the court-approved survey plan.”
Camtugan urged the court to grant his motion and ask the sheriff to submit the survey plan before the court and set a hearing on the approval/modification or determination of the survey plan and issue an order on the matter.
In his motion, Camtugan urged to court to quash the writ and order issuance of a new one.
Judge Bahul granted Camtugan’s motion so a hearing on the matter was held Thursday wherein he ordered the city government to answer Camtugan’s motion to quash the writ of execution.


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