Court rules “Balyuan site” is property of Leyte province; Petilla says he has no plans “as yet” to take back property

by EVMail News on July 11, 2011

1st District Leyte Board Member Roque Tiu (holding microphone) explains to members of media what happened to the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival that was barred by the City from passing through its usual route. The Balyuan Proprerty was also mentioned. With him are (clockwise) Palo councilor Wilson Uy, President, PCL-Eastern Visayas; 5th District Leyte BM Carlo Loreto; Eugene Tan, president of Pintados Kasadyaan Fdn.; 2nd District BM Nico Villasin and Roy Moraleta, host. By Raul Tiozon/PIA8

TACLOBAN CITY – Leyte province has no plans “as yet” to take back possession of the “Balyuan Property” which is currently being occupied by the City Government of Tacloban and is a center of festivities of the currently concluded Tacloban Fiesta in honor of the Sto. Niño last June 29 and 30.
This, despite the city’s actuations in giving the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival organizers a hard time in executing the annual festival. Political pundits were salivating at the prospect of a “show down” between the city and the Province, as the latter was expected to “get back” at Tacloban City by sequestering the property in the midst of the fiesta season.
However, Leyte Gov. Carlos Jericho Petilla said the provincial government is not devising a plan ‘as of yet’ to insist on its right and take over the property with the fiesta festivities still ongoing and with the property being used as the center for these activities.
“We know how to respect other people’s activities especially that these are for the people and is a religious practice,” Gov. Petilla said in a media interview just as news broke out Tuesday that backhoe and trucks have barricaded the gates of the Balyuan Property. This was after a press conference was held by Leyte board members and Pintados Foundation Inc. members that such decision have already been made by the court.
However, the governor said this would not prevent them from taking back the province’s rightful ownership at the “right time”.
The governor declared the province would not readily take over the property but is giving city authorities the chance to peacefully turn it over in accordance with the ruling of the court.
“We are simply administrators. Despite everything that happened I know that they (city officials) are men of stature and still know how to respect the law and the court,” Gov. Petilla said.
With reports that heavy equipments have barricaded the property, the governor said he is unperturbed. “Nobody is above the law”, he said.
Petilla lamented that it was only in 2004 that the city and the province united and in good accord with then city Mayor Alfredo “Bejo” Romualdez, father of incumbent Mayor Alfred Romualdez, that the province readily agreed, with the approval of both the city’s and the province’s respective councils, for the said property to be utilized accordingly by the city government.
The governor further commented all these can actually be “talked about “.
“Puede gad ini pag-istoryahan kon maupay la it sarabot. We should not resort to getting court orders as much as possible if maupay la iton uruistorya,” the governor said.
The Regional Trial Court Branch-8 of the Bulwagan ng Katarungan here dismissed the case filed by the city government of Tacloban against the provincial government of Leyte which called for the declaration of nullity of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) entered into by the city and the province and questions the ownership of the Balyuan Property.
The 16-page decision was issued on June 1, 2011 by RTC Branch 8 Judge Salvador Apurillo. The judge dismissed the case filed by the city for “lack of merit.” With a report from PMRC

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