Vendors of Quinta Market in Quiapo district of Manila on Friday asked a Manila court for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against renovation of the public market.
The renovation is scheduled to start on Monday.
Edith Santos, 56, vice president of Quiapo Public Market Cooperative, the petitioner in the case, said the petition was heard by the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 7.
Respondents are Mayor Joseph Estrada, the City Council headed by Vice Mayor Isko Moreno and private contractor Market Life Management and Leasing Corporation.
Also on Friday, merits of the case were debated and, anytime after the hearing, the judge is expected to either deny or grant the release of TRO.
Melchor Monsod, lawyer for the petitioners, said the vendors will suffer irreparable injury if demolition of their stalls will push through.
He added that a signed joint venture between the private firm and the city government was doubtful because, in effect, it transfers management of Quinta Market to the leasing company.
Jose Flaminiano, lawyer for the respondents, said the relocation of the vendors is only temporary while a modern market is being built.
He cited a study of the city engineering department that said the market was built more than a hundred years ago, making it unsafe for the stall holders.
After a tense argument between the two lawyers, Judge Acerey Pacheco ruled that the motion for the 72-hour TRO is deemed submitted for resolution.
Estrada moved distribution of certificates of tenure to deserving stallholders and vendors to 4 p.m. of Friday.