MANILA, Philippines – Family members of the victims of the infamous tragedy of Payatas in July 2000 lost their attempt to claim P3 million in damages from the government of the city of Quezon.
In a 133-page decision, the Court of First Instance of the City of Quezon granted damages for P110,000 to each of the heirs of the 57 victims.
Originally, the petitioners requested real and compensatory damages amounting to P500,000; moral damages, P500,000; and exemplary damages not less than P2 million for each death.
The court, in its ruling, granted P50,000 temperate damages for each death; P50,000 moral damages for death; and P10,000 exemplary or corrective damages due to death.
The court also ordered the payment of P100,000 in attorneys’ fees.
According to the court, he cannot grant real damages because the 57 plaintiffs did not present documentary evidence that the victims owned property that was destroyed by the trash slide.
He added that no one also testified about the amount incurred by the wake and the burial of the deaths.
“Although the plaintiffs listed their respective real and personal properties buried by the collapse of the thrash, none of them could present documentary evidence that such properties existed before and at the time of the tragedy. In addition, no plaintiff testified about the amount they incurred for the wake and burial of the deceased victims, ”the court ruled.
“The unsubstantiated allegations, not supported by the proof of the victims’ ability to gain, cannot deserve the adjudication of it. For the loss of income due to death, there must be an impartial proof of the average income of the deceased, “he added.
The tragedy of Payatas occurred on July 10, 2000, burying more than 200 people under a huge pile of garbage.
In holding the government of the city of Quezon accountable, the court said: “The mountain coup itself is a testament to the serious negligence of the city government in the management and operation of the landfill.”
“If they had exercised the due care that was expected of them, they could not have allowed the garbage to rise to an unprecedented height to resemble several Meralco poles arranged one above the other or several stories high in a building,” the decision issued by Branch 97 The interim presiding judge Marilou Runes-Tamang also reads.
“Consequently, the omission and negligence of the accused government of the city of Quezon City by not maintaining a proper and adequate facility for solid waste disposal caused damage to both the life and property of people living in the area.” added Tamang.
During the time of Mayor Brigido Simon Jr., specifically on October 13, 1999, certificates were granted to Payatas settlers.
“As homeless people, plaintiffs and deceased victims relied on this piece of paper as their control over the small piece of land on which they built their houses. They cannot be blamed for their destitution and lack of familiarity with the existing rules on the community mortgage program; they cannot be blamed if they relied on the acts of then Mayor Simon Jr., ”says the ruling.
The court held that the city government cannot claim that the plaintiffs must be blamed for the misfortune they have encountered for their refusal to be relocated to safer places.
He said that the negligence of the city government for not maintaining a proper and adequate facility for solid waste disposal was the “immediate cause of loss of life and property.”
Edited by KGA
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