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MANILA, Philippines – The illegal occupants of the Philippine Village Hotel, the abandoned structure directly beside Metro Manila’s international airport, have been formally ordered to vacate the premises after over two decades of legal battles.
A notice to vacate obtained by Rappler ordered Philippine Village Hotel Incorporated (PVHI), Jose Marcel “Jocel” Panlilio, and “all persons claiming rights under it” to voluntarily vacate the premises of the hotel within 5 days of receipt.
“Failure to do so, the undersigned has no alternative but to eject you forcibly,” the notice said.
The notice was signed by Sheriff III Randy Leviste of the Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 45, Pasay City and received by the defendants on November 14, 2023.
In July 2023, Rappler reported on the Philippine Village Hotel and how it poses a security and safety concern to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
The abandoned hotel, which provides a vantage point directly over NAIA Terminal 2 and across the area where all of the President’s air assets are stored, could possibly become a staging point for terrorist operations if left unsecured, according to top airport officials.
“It has to be secured by MIAA because it’s a big risk for us from a security perspective,” Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) Officer-in-Charge Bryan Co told Rappler.
In another letter to Pasay City Mayor Imelda Calixto-Rubiano, Co highlighted that “given its abandoned state, the building’s security has become increasingly compromised, making it susceptible to trespassing, vandalism, and other criminal activities.”
The hotel ceased operations in 2001. Since then, city engineers, fire fighters, and even MIAA personnel have not been able to enter the property, even though the land is government-owned. According to airport officials, armed guards patrol the perimeter and bar entry.
When Rappler attempted to visit the hotel last July, a non-uniformed guard blocked us from entering and requested that we move our vehicle.
More than twenty years of legal battles have been waged over the status of the Philippine Village Hotel, which was originally constructed during the early days of Martial Law on land then-leased from Nayong Pilipino. (READ: Who owns the abandoned Philippine Village Hotel that ‘undermines’ NAIA’s safety?)
From 1975 onwards, the hotel was operated by Jocel Panlilio and for a time, it even served as a terminal for passengers flying with Grand Air, the Panlilio clan’s attempt to challenge Philippine Airlines.
But court documents showed that PVHI, the Panlilio-owned company managing the hotel, began failing to meet its monthly payments to Nayong Pilipino starting January 2001.
Panlilio claimed that his family had sold nearly all of their shares of stock and interest in the hotel in 2002 to Rogelio Serafica of Burgundy Realty.
“Hence all liabilities, including the Supreme Court finding, are assumed to be the responsibility wholly of Mr. Serafica of Burgundy Realty,” Jocel Panlilio told the Philippine STAR in 2009.
The latest notice to vacate does not explicitly mention Serafica or Burgundy.
The order to vacate is in connection with a civil case by the Nayong Pilipino Foundation against PVHI and Panlilio for unlawful detainer – a case that was mired in almost eight years of courtroom debates until the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Nayong Pilipino in January 2009.
However, it wouldn’t be until December 2020 that an Alias Writ of Execution would be issued by the Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 45, against PVHI and Panlilio. It then took almost three years for the sheriff to issue the notice to vacate in November 2023.
An official from the Pasay City previously told Rappler in July 2023 that they were planning a big move on the property, but they declined to give more details.
With the notice now served, the occupants of the abandoned property have until the afternoon of November 19 to voluntarily vacate before the government is authorized to forcibly evict them. – Rappler.com