Court to Cebu City, Megawide: Stop occupying Maritima area

THE Cebu City Government and Megawide Construction Corp. (MCC) have been directed by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) to “restore and maintain” the possession of the Compaña Maritima area to the Cebu Port Authority (CPA).

In his 15-page decision, RTC Branch 10 Judge Soliver Peras granted the CPA’s application for a writ of preliminary injunction to prohibit the City Government from occupying any portion of the Compaña Maritima area.

The decision for Civil Case CEB-41917 was promulgated on Dec. 23, 2022, with the Republic of the Philippines, represented by the CPA, as plaintiff and Mayor Michael Rama and acting city assessor Eustaquio Cesa as defendants of the case.

Peras favored the claim of the Republic and CPA that the contested area belongs to the Baseport of Cebu and thus belongs to the state.

The CPA argued that the City Government has bargained away the former’s rights by allowing a private entity to take “undue advantage” of government property.

The plaintiff further said that the City has sufficient real estate at the South Road Properties where MCC can execute its vision without the fear of being evicted by the state and the CPA.

“Moreover, the evidence in chief of the Republic shows that the contested premises are within the port premises. Absent any showing that the contested area has ceased to remain part of the port, the State has prima facie control over the same,” read a portion of the ruling.

Joint venture

In January 2021, the City Government and MCC entered into a joint venture agreement (JVA) for the Carbon Market Development Project which includes the contested property.

Peras also penned that since the court has established that the CPA is the rightful owner of the property, any construction, development, or conversion being done in the area without the consent of the CPA is “a clear invasion of right.”

“The infrastructures or improvements introduced by the City of Cebu within the contested premises constitute material invasion, as this deprives the Cebu Port Authority not only of the physical possession of the property but also hinders to exercise of any acts of administration within the same,” the ruling further reads.

Last Oct. 21, the CPA condemned the fencing operations conducted by personnel of Cebu2World Development Inc. (C2W) near the Compaña Maritima to give way for the construction of its Puso Village, a commercial development beside the Compaña Maritima Building facing the Mactan Channel that is intended to showcase the best of Cebu food and retail.

Megawide subsidiary C2W said its actions did not violate any law or judicial proceedings as it works only on properties turned over by the Cebu City Government under the JVA.

The CPA described the disputed area that the Cebu City Government and Megawide are working on and using as a 5,206-square-meter area previously used as a parking lot by the Cebu City Government.


The court ruled that there is an urgent necessity for the issuance of the writ since improvements and ongoing construction were made and introduced in the contested area.

This development, regardless of its pace, not only divests the CPA of control over the contested premises but also deprives it of effectively exercising administrative functions relevant to port operations and purpose, said Peras.

Peras further said the issuance of the injunctive writ is not preemptive on the outcome of the case since “prima facie” evidence is the only thing needed for the issuance of such.

The judge added that the defendant still has the opportunity to substantiate their claim for the entire duration of the trial.

“After careful evaluation, this court is satisfied and convinced by the prima facie evidence presented by the plaintiff,” read a portion of the decision.


SunStar Cebu reached out to MCC, CPA and Rama for comment, but as of press time, none of them has released an official statement.

In an interview with reporters, City Attorney Eugene Orbita confirmed that they had received a copy of the RTC’s ruling.

Orbita said they had already discussed the matter with other City Hall lawyers, but he admitted that he still had to speak with Rama.

“We are preparing for a motion for reconsideration. If it could be done tomorrow, we will do it, but if we cannot finish that, (then we will do it on the) first week of January (2023),” said Orbita.