Cebu City gov’t told to pay lot owner

07/19/2010 - The Court of Appeals (CA) has ordered the Cebu City government to pay the remaining amount it owes to the Rallos family, whose lot in Banilad Estate was expropriated by the city in 1963 for a road project.

Antonio Bellones, the court sheriff assigned to implement the order, told Cebu Daily News the city owes at least P30 million for the 3,787 sq.m. lot of the Rallos family.

In his decision, Associate Justice Edwin Sorongon of the appellate's court's 20th division said the city should pay the Rallos' family the principal sum of P9,500 per square meter for the lot, plus interest of 12 percent per annum to be computed 40 days from July 24, 2001 and to continue until the whole amount is paid in full, less the amount already paid by the city.

Sorongon set aside the ruling of then Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Geraldine Faith Econg of Branch 9 whose computation of the amount due the Rallos family was not appreciated by the CA.

Bellones, however, cannot execute the CA ruling pending the resolution of a motion for reconsideration filed by the city government.

The Rallos family had sued the city for illegally expropriating the lot.

The court ruled in favor of the Rallos and ordered the city government to pay the family P34.9 million.

But the court changed the cost of each square meter from P7,500 to P9,500 after the Rallos family demanded that the city pay the actual cost of the land in question. The amount went up from P34.9 million to P46.5 million.

The city government appealed the RTC decision with the CA which upheld the decision of the lower court.

The city government then filed a petition for certiorari before the Supreme Court on Dec. 5, 2007.

In its order dated April 21, it said the petitioner failed to “sufficiently show” any error from the ruling of the CA that may be reversed.

Rallos' heirs are also entitled to be paid the attorney's fees and litigation expenses amounting to P100,000.

Econg had amended her decision by asking the city to pay P44.213 million, less partial payment plus legal interest at 12 percent per annum to start from July 24 until the amount is paid in full.

The Rallos family contested Econg's order before the CA, saying the amended order is not appropriate under the law.

The CA granted the request of the Rallos family.

Bellones said the city had paid about P55 million for the expropriated lot already.(Inquirer)

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