Court stops sale of Smokey Mountain property
The Manila Regional Trial Court has stopped state-run housing firm Home Guaranty Corporation (HGC) from selling a property that is part of the Smokey Mountain Development and Reclamation Project (SMDRP) in Tondo, Manila.
In a six-page order made public Monday, Judge Jansen Rodriguez of the Manila RTC Branch 6 stopped HGC, its agent, and representative of any person acting in its behalf to stop, desist and refrain from conducting the bidding on the said property. The TRO is effective for 20 days.
“Thus, there is an urgent need for the writ to prevent irreparable injury to the petitioners (beneficiaries),” the court said.
The case stemmed from a case filed by the beneficiaries of the permanent housing units built in Tondo by the SMDRP. Petitioners said the 121,000 sqm. property where the housing units were built is being auctioned without any consultation with them.
The SMDRP started during the time of former President Corazon Aquino who wanted to convert the dump site into a habitable housing project while the adjacent area will be reclaimed as the adjacent component of the project.
The project was adopted by President Fidel Ramos who issued Proclamation No. 39 placing the property under the administration and disposition of the National Housing Authority (NHA). NHA was tasked to develop, subdivide and dispose the land to qualified beneficiaries and to provide employment opportunities to on-site families.
NHA then entered into a Joint Venture Agreement with R-II Builders Inc. (RBI) to develop the dump site and the reclamation of the area across Radial Road 10. The dump site would be cleared to develop both not only a medium rise housing complex but also an industrial and commercial site.
Then, HGC was approached to act as guarantor for the participation certificates which will be issued for SMDRP.
However, it has decided to auction the land without consulting the beneficiaries. Petitioners added that an ejectment case was already filed against them so they will vacate the area.
The court, in its ruling, said petitioners who are beneficiaries of the project “have clear and unmistakable right to be protected, one clearly founded on or granted by law.”
The lower court added that the Supreme Court itself affirmed the validity of the SMDRP which means that “it is beyond question that the petitioners have a clear and unmistakeable right or interest over the subject property.”
The court has set a July 31 hearing to determine if the restraining order will be made permanent by issuing an injunction or not. AU
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