QC resident in 1970 road right-of-way case needs to wait longer

    139

    THE Commission on Audit has denied a claim for compensation filed by a Quezon City resident whose property was affected by a government road project 49 years ago.

    Citing lack of jurisdiction, the COA Commission Proper said it cannot rule on the claim filed by Ernesto Urbano questioning whether the city government validly exercised its power of eminent domain when it took over an 85-square meter portion of the property of Urbano’s parents for a road construction project.

    “The determination as to whether the city validly exercised the power of eminent domain …is within the jurisdiction of the courts, and not with this Commission,” the COA said.

    It explained that the nature of Urbano’s claim is that of just compensation, which must be brought before the courts.

    Records showed Urbano had a chance to get paid in 2011 after he signed a deed of absolute sale with then Mayor Herbert Bautista representing Quezon City.

    The agreement stated that the city government will pay P4,500 per square meter or a total of P382,500 for the 85 meters of the Urbano family lot that was affected by the road project.

    On the part of Urbano, he agreed to shoulder the cost of taxes and fees required to transfer the title to the city government.

    However, Urbano later backed out of the deal, saying it imposed burdensome conditions upon him and the stipulations in the contract were unfair as the value of the property would be further diminished by the amount of taxes and fees he had to pay.

    He filed a money claim before the COA asking that on top of the agreed compensation cost of P382,500, the city government be made to pay P500,000 in exemplary damages, rentals or forbearance charges at six percent for every year dating back to 1970, attorneys fees amounting to P200,000 and other legal cost.

    COA chairman Michael Aguinaldo and Commissioners Jose A. Fabia and Roland C. Pondoc said the commission has no other recourse but to deny the claim for lack of jurisdiction.