CEBU CITY -- The Sesbreño family will continue Monday to tear down structures built on their two-hectare property in Barangay Lawaan, Talisay City, despite the fatal shooting of one of their own and the continuing threat of violence.
Peter Sesbreño, the youngest son of lawyer Raul and the late Virginia Sesbreño, warned “a bloodbath may occur” if illegal settlers defy a court-issued demolition order.
To prevent bloodshed, maximum tolerance will be exercised by the police during Monday’s demolition. At least 10 policemen will be fielded onsite, said Talisay City Police Station Chief Eddie Recamara.
Around 43 households will be uprooted from the land that lawyer Sesbreño had received as part of attorney’s fees.
“I have been assisting the court procedure and believe it was peaceful. There was no resistance from the residents,” Recamara said.
Asked what orders Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) Director Patrocinio Comendador gave him, Recamara said the Talisay police were told to secure the demolition.
“We won’t take any sides. We are neutral,” he added.
He expressed hope the local government will assist by relocating the affected families.
Talisay City Administrator Richel Bacaltos said they still have to convene with the police during the department heads’ meeting Monday, before taking any action.
“We will step in once we know how we can help,” he said.
Peter’s mother, Virginia, was laid to rest during the weekend at the Carreta Cemetery in Cebu City, four days after the ambush that killed her and two others.
Virginia, 65, her friend Soledad Epanto, 51, and businessman Joshua Young 30, were killed when two motorcycle-riding assailants riddled their vehicle with bullets in Sitio Rabaya, Barangay Cansojong, Talisay City last February 1.
Authorities are considering the land dispute between lawyer Sesbreño and the residents whose houses the lawyer is trying to demolish as one possible motive behind the ambush.
Peter insisted his family is the lawful owner of Lot 3255-A and 1 in Barangay Lawaan III and II in Talisay City.
Lawyer Sesbreño earlier said he believes he was the real target of the gunmen. Before the ambush, he said he was warned by sources that a P100,000 bounty was on his head.
The Sesbreños began demolishing houses in Barangay Lawaan in Talisay City last week.
Court records showed that 46 people were ordered by the court sheriff on January 24 to demolish their houses within three days.
This came after Judge Gilbert Moises of the Regional Trial Court Branch 18 granted on January 9 lawyer Sesbreño’s motion for the issuance of a demolition order.
The Sesbreños have so far provided the names of five people they believed to have masterminded the ambush.
Apart from the police, the National Bureau of Investigation-Central Visayas is conducting a parallel investigation on the attack.
Interviewed by phone Sunday, Peter said they tapped the assistance of the Talisay City and provincial police to secure the property during the demolition.
Although police officials in the province promised to assist, Peter said they remain vigilant.
He said the residents should voluntarily leave the property to prevent further violence when the demolition team tears down the structures.