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No takeover yet on Balyuan property

By Provincial Media Relations Center
June 30, 2011

TACLOBAN CITY  –  After a court decision came out confirming ownership of the Balyuan Property to be that of the province of 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 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 over the property in accordance with the rulings 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 that still “nobody is above the law”.

He 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 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 issued on June 1, 2011 by RTC Branch 8 Judge Salvador Apurillo dismissed the case filed by the city for “lack of merit.”