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EDITORIAL: Easy does it

The public discourses regarding the closure or non closure of the so called Fr. Phelan road leading to the Naga City Sports Complex in Barangay Pacol is getting uglier and uglier. And to think that the main protagonists have already posted a certain level of respectability as professionals.

For this reason they should give justice to their prestige and not engage in threats or bluffs for actions being taken. Lawyers Norman Barrosa and Nelson Legacion are both as level headed. City Mayor Nelson Legacion has enough experiences on how to deal with situations better resolved through judicial proceedings.

How come then that they are engaging in what may be described as trial by publicity that might lead to violent confrontations? Threatening to close a road sans court approval is indicative of want of cool-headedness. In the same token, an order for police officers to dismantle road blocks without securing a judicial authority seems to be a very early sign of power drunkenness.

The Rules of Court are not wanting of applicable provisions to resolve the conflict between the Manubay Development Corporation (MADECOR) and City Hall. The process may be lengthy and tedious but it is a better choice than resorting to trial publicity which could cause angst to the public in general and students in particular already rendered tired and weary from their daily grind.

Inquiring on several concerns, including the assessed and appraised l value of the property involved, zonal valuation and current market price will be time consuming but the process ensures a more systematic result in resolving the conflict, unless under the table deals taint the proceedings.

Ideally, expropriation proceedings should be done in a speedy manner. Sad to say, so much delay is incurred in the process. It is suspected that while the process is pending resolution, off the record operations affecting the valuation of the subject property take place. It is in this stage that public interest is compromised.

Not only the owner’s loss of property but also its income generating capacity is considered. Award of exemplary and temperate damages is sometimes given weight.

Judicial intervention has become an absolute necessity in the light of the conflicting claims of the donors and the donee as to whether there exists a deed of donation or not and of the area of the lot involved. The issue on whether MANDECOR is being deprived of beneficial ownership over the property without the benefit of timely expropriation is also of primordial consideration.

Be that as it may, availing of judicial remedy, unless tainted with irregularities, is the only recourse to protect public interest and to satisfy the right of private property owners for just compensation.

Over and above all, several questions need to be answered. Does the city already have funds for the purpose? Has the Sangguniang Panglusnod, the keeper of the purse, passed an ordinance setting aside funds in relation thereto? More importantly, what is really the nature of the agreement between MANDECOR and City Hall?

Pending resolution of the controversy, sobriety must reign. Easy does it.

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