CA favors Sorsogon City Water District in land ownership dispute

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Sorsogon City Water District main office.
Sorsogon City Water District main office.

By Felix’Boy’ Espineda, Jr.

SORSOGON CITY, 14Sept2013 (BicolToday.com) – The land occupied by Sorsogon’s water district which was claimed by another person in a court case several years ago had been decided later by the Court of Appeals favoring the water public utility firm.

Setting the record straight, Sorsogon City Water District General Manager Engr. Ronaldo Barboño said, in an interview with our on-line news, that the question of ownership as alleged by Fe Jarme Ferolino on Lot No. 2317-A was already decided by the Court of Appeals back in 2006 in favour of the water firm. The issue is considered closed, he said.

Research made by BicolToday.com at RTC Branch 52 of Sorsogon that a civil case (Civil Case No. 96-6281) was filed by plaintiff Ferolino against the SCWD and a decision was promulgated in their favor.

When RTC Branch 52 of Sorsogon promulgated that Sorsogon City Water District is liable to pay rent to Fe Jarme Ferolino in Civil Case No. 96-6281 on January 4, 2001, SCWD filed a Notice of Appeal at the Court of Appeals arguing that the lower court erred in its decision. They argued that the lower court erred in not declaring that Lot No. 2317-A or at least a portion thereof is a public land, hence, claim, demand or cause for rental for the use and/or occupancy thereof is untenable. That the lower court erred in not finding preponderance of evidence in favor of applellant-defendant, and the principles of laches, statute of limitation and prescription are inapplicable.

The issue at hand is whether or not a public land can be acquired by a private person without any grant, express or implied from the government prior to its reservation, Fe Jarme Ferolino applied for a grant of the land in 1994, the land was already converted into a water district reservation and therefore not alienable and disposable was how the appeals court opined.

The Court of Appeals as early as April 2006 resolved that the Motion for Reconsideration filed by Fe Jarme Ferolino on its decision of March 2006 has no cogent reason to revise, amend, much less, reverse it, thus giving due credence to the appeal by Sorsogon City Water District on the of the RTC Branch 52 decision granting to collect rent from the water firm out of the use of a public land which was subject of an application of free patent of the Ferolino’s family.

The appeal of SCWD was decided by the Second Division of the Court of Appeals(CA G.R, CV No. 70610). [BicolToday.com]

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