Garcia optimistic demolition of Palace of Justice building will push through

·2 min read

CEBU Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia has expressed her optimism that the demolition of the Marcelo Fernan Palace of Justice building at the back of the Cebu Provincial Capitol compound would push through.

Garcia made the statement after Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Marvic Leonen paid her a courtesy visit at the Capitol on Tuesday, May 31, 2022.

The old building, which was dedicated to the late SC Justice Marcelo Fernan, was declared unsafe when it was damaged by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Cebu on Oct. 15, 2013.

During his visit, Leonen, who was in Cebu to attend the signing of the Roll of Attorneys for new lawyers in the Visayas, promised to endorse Garcia’s demolition request to the office of SC Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo.

“He said he would bring it up to Chief Justice Gesmundo and we hope that we can move forward from there. He is aware that it (Palace of Justice) is really an eyesore. As a matter of fact it presents a stark contrast to our Capitol building so we hope that this issue will finally be resolved,” Garcia told reporters.

Two years ago, Garcia suggested having the old court building demolished as it poses a risk in the event of another earthquake. Before the 2013 earthquake that affected Cebu and Bohol, the old court building had served as home to 30 trial court branches, the offices of the Cebu City, Cebu Provincial and Regional prosecutors; and the Public Attorney’s Office.

In 2020, Garcia sent a letter to the SC about a plan to demolish the abandoned structure but it never got a response. The building had already been vacated by its occupants after the earthquake due to its weak foundation.

“Well, first of all, I don’t think it will be structurally safe anymore for this to be retrofitted and to be reused. Taking into consideration the expert opinion of structural engineers as well as our building officials we deemed it best to tear this down actually,” Garcia added.

Garcia said she was planning to develop the area in partnership with the private sector once the structure is demolished.(ANV / TPT)

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