MANILA -- The Supreme Court (SC) ordered former Quezon Governor Eduardo Rodriguez and the Pagbilao Development Corp. to stop its "violent" takeover of a vast land properties in the province from its real owners.
In its 11-page ruling dated March 10, 2014, the SC's Third Division through Associate Justice Jose Catral Mendoza granted the petition of a certain Pedro Lukang and also reinstated the writ of preliminary injunction issued by Lucena City Regional Trial Court branch 53 over the sprawling property, which includes two popular beaches.
The high court stressed that the PDC was well aware that it had bought the properties even as the titles are still under litigation.
"PDC cannot invoke its being the registered owner to dispossess the present possessors for, precisely, when it bought the properties, it was charged with the knowledge that the ownership and sale of the subject properties by its predecessors-in-interest have been questioned by their co-heirs," the court added.
It added that the notice of Lis Pendens on the titles should have been "a warning that those who acquire an interest in the property do so at their own risk--they gamble on the result of the litigation over it."
PDC bought the property in 1993 from two heirs of the family patriarch Arsenio Lacson who died in 1976, even while the court had not yet determined the rightful shares of all of Lacson's children and heirs.
Court records showed that Lukang, one of Lacson's sons, and the other heirs who were in possession of properties were "violently" ejected by the PDC after its armed men "entered the premises, destroyed structures and started to construct improvements on the properties without their consent."
Lukang's lawyer, Atty. Marjorie de Castro, urged the parties concerned to respect and follow the SC's decision and return the property to its rightful owners.
"We urge the parties concerned to respect the high court's decision on the matter and voluntary return the property to its previous and rightful occupants and owners," she said.