Fencing of oldest school in Pangasinan denounced

NO MAN’S LAND Photo shows the back portion of the school campus around which a fence had been built. Nobody is allowed to enter the campus by private security guards allegedly hired by Willy Chua, who claims to be the owner of the property. PHOTO BY JAIME G. AQUINO

NO MAN’S LAND Photo shows the back portion of the school campus around which a fence had been built. Nobody is allowed to enter the campus by private security guards allegedly hired by Willy Chua, who claims to be the owner of the property. PHOTO BY JAIME G. AQUINO

BAYAMBANG, Pangasinan: Officers of the Bayambang Central I Alumni Association (BCAA) with more than 30,000 members composed of lawyers, doctors, engineers, teachers, businessmen, politicians and the Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) here have expressed their dismay and denounced the fencing of their more than 100-year-old school campus allegedly ordered by a Chinese businessman whose ownership of the land is still being questioned.

In a recent meeting, the BCAA and PTA officers headed by Filipinas Alcantara approved a resolution urging President Rodrigo Duterte and Education Secretary Leonor Briones to help them in the preservation of the Gabaldon building inside the campus and to stop a plan of the alleged owner to demolish the school buildings and other structures built with national government funds and their own contributions.

The officers pointed to President Duterte last week stopping the demolition of school buildings of Bauan, Batangas, and believed that he can do the same for Bayambang.

The fencing of the school campus that was finished on August 26 by hundreds of workers accompanied by armed policemen was not stopped even it was opposed and questioned by Mayor Cezar Quiambao.

The workers immediately started building the fence on August 19.

The 3.1-hectare school campus whose ownership was awarded to Willy Chua by Judge Hermogenes Fernandez of San Carlos City Regional Trial Court Branch 57, granting Chua a writ of execution that he filed last July 18.

Fernandez first issued a decision on June 27, favoring Chua and ordering municipal officials of Bayambang to turn over possession and ownership of the land to Chua.

He approved the writ of execution on August 9.

Chua had filed a case at the local court, demanding that the local government honor its obligation to hand over the old campus to him.

The old campus along the national highway in Poblacion here was “swapped” by the past municipal administration with a 2.2- hectare property with a 60-classroom building located in Barangay Magsaysay.

Students and the teachers were forced to transfer to the new school site by the former town mayor of Bayambang in July 2014, citing dengue and flooding.

Quiambao questioned the fencing of the old campus, saying it was against the law and a permit from the local government is required for fencing property.

The Manila Times learned from Municipal Administrator and lawyer Rajilyn Sagarino that the lawyers of Quiambao are now preparing a petition for review to be filed before the Court of Appeals, assailing the allegedly “rushed” decision and writ of execution issued by Fernandez.

“The decision was quick,” Quiambao said.

“The case was filed on May 27 and the decision was issued on June 27. On July 18, Chua filed a writ of execution, which the judge immediately granted on August 9,” he added.

Quiambao said the municipal legal officer is studying two courses of action–file relief of judgment from the same local judge or seek annulment of the decision from the Court of Appeals.

“We want the judge to know what happened, that there was fraud in the case filed,” he added.

The mayor said Fernandez granting the writ of execution of the decision “compelling” the local government represented by former Mayor Ricardo Camacho to “deliver possession” of the property to Chua is questionable.

A first-time mayor, Quiambao told reporters earlier that the writ did not include fencing the campus.

He said the local government would also question the court decision handing the old campus to Chua that the court based on a deed of exchange of real property signed between Camacho and Chua.

Quiambao added that Chua could be sued for fraud as he submitted an affidavit to the Office of the Ombudsman saying “there is nothing to complain about a land swapping transaction as there was no contract that was ever executed between him and the municipality.”

The Ombudsman earlier dismissed the case filed against Camacho and Chua by Alcantara’s group for gross neglect of duty and grave abuse of authority on the land swapping transaction because of that affidavit of Chua.

“The Ombudsman dismissed the case because of Chua’s claims that there was no contract executed, but then he submitted a signed deed of exchange between him and Camacho to the local court. That is fraud,” Quiambao said.

The mayor sent a letter to Provincial Legal Officer Geraldine Baniqued, who acted as the town’s lawyer in the case, asking why she did not take any legal action when she received the court decision on June 27,and the motion for writ of execution on July 18.

He also asked Banigued why she did not inform him of the two incidents as the new mayor of Bayambang.

“Your omission or failure to take action on the two incidents only tolerated the grand design of corrupt public officials to give away a vital property to a private individual,” Quiambao said in the letter to Baniqued dated August 16.


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