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No martial law in Ayala Alabang

02:03 AM August 31, 2015

THIS REFERS to the Biz Buzz item titled “‘Martial law’ in Ayala Alabang,” which insinuated an atmosphere reportedly resulting from the enforcement by the Ayala Alabang Village Association (AAVA) of an old board resolution based on a provision in the AAVA’s deed restrictions (Business, 8/24/15).

For the enlightenment of all concerned, the provision governs the use and occupancy of the lots in the village. It provides that “commercial or advertising signs shall not be placed, constructed, or erected on the lots. Name plates and professional signs of the occupants are permitted so long as they do not exceed 30 x 60 centimeters in size.”

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In 2013, the AAVA board of governors then passed Resolution No. 2013-06-05 prescribing rules for the implementation of deed restrictions, one of which states that name plates and professional signs of the residents “may be allowed for use as commercial or advertising signs, but not to encourage or persuade others to take (new) actions, but only to announce that their property is up for sale, rent, or lease or a garage sale will be held in the premises.”

As a consequence of the ongoing debate on the opening of new gates in the village, some residents have put up tarpaulin signs on their lots with the message “NO TO THE PROPOSED SAN JOSE GATE.” This violates the restriction and resolution as to their content and size.

As guardians of all lot owners in the village with specific duty to promote the general welfare of its residents and enforce rules and regulations, the AAVA sent notices of the violation to the residents concerned, advising that under Resolution No. 2015-08-04 passed this year, a fine of P100 would be imposed on them per day of delay in the removal of the signs. This was to remind them of the existing applicable rules, so they could act accordingly and try to avoid or minimize liability on their part.

Some residents, invoking their right to free speech, and attacking the resolutions as oppressive, failed to see the good intention of the notices and asked the AAVA to recall them and apologize in writing for sending them and immediately publish the apology in the AAVA News. Their demands were accompanied with threats of criminal and civil suits against the AAVA and its governors.

Freedom of expression is not absolute; it should be exercised within the bounds of the law. One cannot invoke such freedom to justify his/her violation of his/her own contract. Upon the purchase of their lots, the complaining residents bound themselves to the restriction in question.

The resolutions in question are not oppressive. They merely implement a provision in the deed restrictions. The fine of P100 a day is reasonable, as it starts to run only from receipt of the notice of violation and ends upon correction. It is within the discretion and power of the affected residents to prevent or minimize their liability for the violation.

It is, therefore, not hard to see that the insinuation of a “martial law” in Alabang is far from the truth.

—EPIFANIO S. JOAQUIN, president, Ayala Alabang Village Association

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