Tension mars demolition at Old Balara

MANILA, Philippines – The demolition of shanties in a property owned by Susana Realty in Barangay Old Balara ended in a standoff yesterday as the informal settlers blocked authorities from enforcing the demolition order.

Senior Superintendent Ranier Idio, deputy director for operations of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) said some 200 policemen were deployed in the area to ease the tension and maintain peace and order.

The residents were armed with metal rods and kitchen utensils.

At least eight of the 10 lanes of Commonwealth Avenue were also closed to traffic early yesterday, as broken bottles littered and bicycles blocked the streets.

“Eventually, policemen managed to push through and even arrested two of the residents at around 11 a.m.,” Senior Superintendent Gerardo Ratuita, commander of the QCPD’s District Public Safety Battalion said.

Ronnie Montejo, commander of QCPD-Station 6, said the demolition was supposed to have been carried out since Friday last week but they gave the residents an extension for one week.

Idio also showed to The STAR a copy of the writ of demolition issued by Judge Russel Jayl Tagama of the Regional Trial Court Branch 222, which was issued as early as July.

But lawyer Arturo Temanil, who represented the informal settlers said, they did not receive any notice of the demolition.

Anabelle Tolentino, one of the affected residents said at least 1,000 houses were demolished. But court sheriff Neri Loi said that based on their records, there were only 350 houses in the one-hectare property.

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