Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 60 in Barili granted the petition of preliminary prohibitory injunction filed by Wilhelmino and Emma Saldua, who also operate a business in the area.
Cañete said the petitioners’ business and operation were not “nuisances.”
The couple, represented by lawyer Florencio Yosores, filed a civil case against Garcia after she ordered their structures destroyed last April.
“The acts of (Garcia), in destroying the privately-owned structures of petitioners and also on ordering the destruction of all (their) other private properties are not only inflicting grave and irreparable damage and loss to petitioners, but an oppressive and confiscatory taking of a private property in a capricious, whimsical, and despotic exercise of an alleged police power of a governor without trial or court order. And
without any compensation,” the complaint read.
For her part, Garcia told reporters they will “continue to stand by…that certain easement zone must be observed.”
“(The injunction) is not yet the end of the case,” she said.
She said by clearing some structures and creating easement zone, the waterway was restored.
The Salduas own three registered lots in Barangay Matutinao. They opened a store in 1996.
In 2002, they build a riprap on the sides of their land next to the waterline of the river. The said project was granted with Environmental Clearance Certificate (ECC) by DENR and clearance from the planning board of the Badian Municipal Government.
The couple also secured the governor and mayor’s business permits.
Garcia ordered the demolition of some structures that lined Kawasan falls and its river for allegedly violating their ECC.
The owners also allegedly violated the Water Code of the Philippines, or Presidential Decree 1067. One of the provisions prohibits the building of any structure within the 20-meter easement zone on both sides of a river or body of water.
But according to Yosores, PD 1067 is “not applicable” to the river for it is not navigable.
He also argued Kawasan falls belongs to the state and not by the Province of Cebu nor by Garcia. The DENR, he said, has the power to regulate the falls.
“Worst, (Garcia), to completely oust or force the petitioners to leave from their own properties, not only further prevented petitioners from engaging legitimate livelihood of their business, but closed the pathway towards petitioners’ place by ordering her men to block the pathway towards (their) place,” said Yosores.
He said that once they can get the names of the persons who blocked his clients, he
will let them explain to the court.
The lawyer further said Wilhelmino, who is 70 and suffering from kidney ailment, almost suffered heart attack after he received a letter from Garcia inviting them for an inspection of Kawasan falls and read a newspaper article that stated their house and other structures will be demolished if they would not clear the place.
Cañete said the Salduas can be considered law-abiding citizens for they complied with requirements before engaging in business.
“Worthy of note is that one’s employment or livelihood is considered property within constitutional sense as jurisprudence consistently has it, of which he cannot be deprived of without due process of law,” he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 17, 2012.