Tollway corp. seeks right to use SRP lots

Jerra Mae Librea

THE Cebu City Government will allow the management of the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) to use portions of two government lots in the South Road Properties (SRP) for the off-ramp set to be set up in the area.

However, CCLEX must first agree to shoulder all expenses and liabilities that may be incurred from any suit, claim or disturbance during its free use of the property for 35 years.

In a letter dated Aug. 9, 2019 to Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella, the tollway corporation asked Labella to enter into a usufruct deal for City-owned Lot 8-A and Lot 8-B in SRP as the road right-of-way of the CCLEX project, specifically its off-ramp, will affect portions of the 224-square meter Lot 8-A and 1,717-square meter Lot 8-B.

A Joint Venture Agreement dated April 15, 2016 among the Cebu City Government, Municipality of Cordova and Metro Pacific Tollways North Corp. provides that Cebu City shall allow possession and use of its lands as may be required by the CCLEX project.

“In view of the foregoing, we would like to formally request for an exclusive and unrestricted usufruct rights, interests, and privileges in favor of CCLEC (Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corporation) over the aforecited portions of Lot 8-A and Lot 8-B for right-of-way purposes for the CCLEX project,” part of the letter said.

The deed of usufruct is to be executed by the City as represented by Labella in favor of the CCLEC represented by Allan G. Alfon, the company’s president and general manager.

After his review of the document, City Attorney Rey Gealon asked for a revision of its terms and conditions on the part that reads: “The owner shall keep the usufructuary free and harmless from any suit, claim or disturbance on the exercise of its usufruct rights under this Deed.”

Gealon pointed to Article 602 of the Civil Code which states that “expenses, costs, and liabilities in suits brought with regard to the usufruct shall be borne by the usufructuary.”

He said CCLEC should take responsibility for all judicial expenses and costs that may be incurred in its free use of the lot for the next 35 years.

“This Office opines that the obligation to pay for judicial expenses and costs arising from suits in connection with the litigation over the possession, use and enjoyment of the thing in usufruct should be borne by CCLEC since it enjoys all the benefits from the property; while the City of Cebu only assumes the obligation when the litigation involves ownership of the property,” Gealon said.

Aside from that portion, Gealon found no other legal impediment in the draft usufruct agreement.

He said, however, that the City Council first pass a resolution authorizing Labella to sign the Deed.

The CCLEX is expected to open in 2021.

The bridge project will have two lanes on both directions and will feature the main navigation span twin pylon stay cable bridge, viaduct approach bridges on Cebu City and Cordova sides, Cebu South Coastal Road on and off ramps, causeway and a toll plaza.

CCLEC awarded the “Design and Build” for the CCLEX to Cebu Link Joint Venture, a consortium of Spanish firm Acciona Construccion S.A., and Filipino firms First Balfour and D. M. Consunji Inc.