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Montessori school asks court to stop takeover

/ 03:48 AM September 08, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—Maria Montessori School, which sits on a disputed land on Visayas Avenue in Quezon City, filed a motion for reconsideration for a “stay” of the writ of possession issued by a Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) in favor of Wilfredo Torres.

Raul Vasquez, lawyer of school owner Maritza Tecson, said his client received the copy of the writ on Monday and filed an urgent motion that afternoon due to discrepancies on the date of a survey of the property the parties had agreed upon.

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“The possession and survey order handed down last Monday did not reflect the agreement during the hearing [we] agreed on two weeks ago,” Vasquez said.

Irreparable damage

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Vasquez was referring to the hearing conducted by Judge Marilyn Villordon of the Quezon City RTC Branch 224 in which Torres’ lawyer filed a motion for the conduct of a survey.

Vasquez said he agreed on three conditions.

Both sides agreed that only results from an independent surveyor should be accepted or that the school’s own geodetic engineers shall assist or participate in the survey.

The two parties also agreed that if an overlap on the properties was found, Torres must file a direct action against Tecson to question [the school’s] title.

The third condition said a stay order must be issued to prevent the implementation of the notice to vacate and of the writ of possession because of “public interest,” Vasquez said.

Vasquez said closing down the school due to eviction or entanglement in legal disputes would cause “irreparable damage to the innocent children, their parents and guardians.”

“Imagine the dislocation that will result for one reason or another. The school may not be able to operate as normal as it should,” Vasquez said.

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He noted that classes were canceled Tuesday when fully armed policemen and security guards swooped down on Montessori.

“In [Wednesday’s] hearing, the court realized the extreme need of a stay order as far as the school is concerned and we are glad that the court might grant that,” he said.

Torres’ camp did not object. A resolution is expected to come out Thursday.

Independent survey

Vasquez said that an independent survey would be the first step to check the boundaries of the properties.

“The court realized the discrepancy in the order issued and the agreements during the hearing. And we are hopeful that this time, the order would reflect these three conditions,” Vasquez said.

Tecson said in an earlier interview that about 1,700 square meters of her half-hectare property were affected by the survey and possession order.

She said she had borrowed from various banks to fully pay for the property.

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TAGS: Education, Judiciary (system of justice), land dispute, Maria Montessori School, Philippines – Metro, School
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