Laguna residents mull lawsuit vs developers

Posted at 10/17/09 7:56 PM

Floodwaters are still very deep in the Southfairways Subdivision, Maryland Homes, and other subdivisions in barangay Landayan, San Pedro, Laguna.

Many residents have decided to leave their homes, which they bought at an average of 1.5 million pesos.

But others like Leo Layosa chose to stay in makeshift shelters on the roof.

"Hirap dito, walang kuryente, masahol pa nasunugan," says Leo.

Leo has been a resident in the area since 1998 when he bought his house.

Another resident, Rolando, says he was enticed into buying property here because it was affordable. The great view of Laguna Lake was another selling point.

But Leo, Rolando, and many others who live in these subdivisions were unaware their houses were standing on a very fragile ground.

Their properties sit on reclaimed areas, which were developed in the 1990s.

Fishermen recall they used to cast their nets on the same spot where the subdivisions are now located.

San Pedro Mayor Calixto Cataquiz confirms the subdivisions used to be part of the Laguna Lake.

Under the law, no property development is allowed 12.5 meters below the shoreline.

He suspects the developer could have resorted to influence-peddling and bribery, as they sought permits to develop the subdivisions.

"Magagaling sila. Biro mo, ang batas 12.5 meters above shoreline pero kumpleto permits," Cataquiz says.

Residents are planning to file a class suit against the developer.

The charges could range from syndicated estafa to land grabbing.

They also want the developers to pay them moral damages. Local officials say they will support the residents, if they decide to pursue the case. -- report by Monica Magpantay, ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC)