Lot issue between Province, Oprra homeowners not over

THE lot issue between the Province of Cebu and the Old Philippine Railway Residents Association (Oprra) Inc. has not yet been resolved.

According to documents provided by Oprra Inc. president Elroy Pintor, the Cebu Provincial Government and Oprra Inc. have a pending case at the Cebu City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 8 pertaining to the lots that the Province wants to sell to the homeowners at P11,000 per square meter based on assessed value.

But the court released a decision on Dec. 15, 1997, approving the compromise agreement for the Province to sell the contested lots to Oprra homeowners at only P10 per square meter.

“The Province agrees to the resumption of the signing of the individual Deeds of Conditional Sale in accordance with Master Sales Agreement after the approval of this agreement, which shall cover all members of Oprra of good standing as determined by Oprra,” according to paragraph 2 of page 2 of the decision by Branch 8.

The Master Sales Agreement entered into by the Province and Oprra on June 7, 1971 covered 11 parcels of land owned by the Province, now known as Oprra Village in Cebu City.

In April 2021, the Oprra homeowners association, through its legal counsel, submitted a manifestation and motion to the Regional Trial Court Branch 8 asking the latter to order the Cebu Provincial Government, defendant of the case, to honor the court’s decision.


However on June 1, 2021, the Province asked the court to deny the motion of Oprra Inc., saying the price of the lots approved by the court is disadvantageous to the Cebu Provincial Government.

“Based on a recent appraisal, the value of these lots are already at P11,000 per square meter. To force the Province of Cebu to sell the said lots at a price of P10 per square meter today is grossly unconscionable and disadvantageous to the interest of the Province of Cebu, to borrow the words of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan’s Committee on Provincial and Municipal Properties Committee Report 02-2012,” read part of the letter of the Province of Cebu that seeks to deny the motion of Oprra Inc.

On July 5, 2021, in a rejoinder to the Province’s comments, Oprra reminded the court that the compromise agreement entered into by Oprra and the Province under then governor Vicente de la Serna (1992-1995) on June 13, 1993 was the basis for the final judgment of the court on the matter.

Oprra said this final judgment could not be questioned anymore because the Province, ruled after de la Serna by governors Pablo Garcia (1995-2004), Gwendolyn Garcia (2004-2013), Hilario Davide III (2013-2019), and then again by the present Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia “never filed any motion to question it or set it aside due to fraud and the like.”

Instead, Oprra said: “The defendant cancelled and terminated the final judgment of the Honorable Court, never mind if it is the law between the parties. Now, defendant is offering the plaintiff’s members the price of P11,000 per square meter (which is a complete departure from the final judgment) or else said members will be ejected by defendant.”

The Province explained in its June 1, 2021 comment on Oprra’s manifestation and motion, that it terminated on April 16, 2012 the 1971 sales agreement that set the lot price at P10 per square meter after the failure of the homeowners for almost 40 years to comply with their obligation to pay the full purchase price of the lots subject to the sales agreement and decision of the court.

Pintor said Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, that they will just wait for the court to summon them for the resumption of the case.

Earlier this month, the Capitol said more than a hundred homeowners occupying the Cebu Province-owned lots of Oppra Inc. in Barangay Kalunasan could now apply to own the lots if they agree to the appraised value of P11,000 per square meter and acquire their lots through the Pag-Ibig Fund.

Some 300 other Oprra homeowners, however, had not agreed to those conditions. (PAC, TPT, CTL)