Court nixes damage claim vs. city on failed demolition bid

The Regional Trial Court Branch III here dismissed the claim for damages of an owner of a commercial building at Wright Park against city government officials over a failed bid to demolish his structure in 2014.

In a 13-page decision dated Oct. 4, 2017, RTC Branch III Judge Emmanuel Cacho Rasing said the court could not award damages to plaintiff Nicolas “Bong” Cawed for lack of grounds of liability.

The case stemmed from the demolition order issued by the city government in 2014 on the commercial building owned by Cawed after Cawed undertook renovations without any building permit.

The court earlier granted Cawed’s petition for issuance of a temporary restraining order noting that the demolition order included the entire structure rather than only the renovations being questioned.

After the court’s order, the city officials recalled the demolition order which prompted the court to declare Cawed’s application for injunction moot and academic leaving only the claim for damages unresolved.

The court said that albeit it appears that there was an “error in judgment” in the issuance of the demolition order, there was “no evidence of malice, bad faith or negligence” on the part of the city officials which could have merited the award of damages.

“The fact that the recall Order was made, thus not forcing the issue anymore signifies the absence of malice or bad faith. It was a candid recognition made impliedly that something was amiss,” the court said.

The court also said there was no violation of constitutional right to due process based on evidences and that the city officials’ exercise of power to issue demolition order was backed by laws.

Further the court said there was also no factual basis in awarding moral and exemplary damages as there was no evidence presented to prove such. – Aileen P. Refuerzo