Land Grabbing or Fake Claim ???

landgrabbing-pr

here’s an interesting article on a property being disputed by the SM group of Companies and supposedly the “rightful heirs” of the property ( till proven ).  there are always two sides to the story on the top of the judicial system we currently have, just thought I’d share this article as being in the business for quite sometime, there are many unscrupulous transactions, land grabbing and illegal use of force used by powerful families and at the same time politicians that usurp their powers to succeed in their objectives, who they are, that’s up in the air for you to find out. below is the article from Rappler.com :

Part 1: ‘Rightful’ owners of prime lot in QC fight back

Heirs of the purported owner of the prime lot where SM North EDSA and Trinoma Mall now stand want to get back what they believe to be legally and rightfully theirs

Dave M. Veridiano
Published 10:00 PM, December 30, 2016
Updated 8:12 AM, December 31, 2016
http://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/investigative/156842-part-1-ragua-heirs-quezon-city-land-dispute?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=referral

MANILA, Philippines – They are the heirs of Eulalio Ragua, the purported owner of the prime lot in Quezon City where SM North EDSA Mall and Trinoma Complex stand.

They lived in that area since birth until they were evicted from their houses which were later demolished to give way to high-rise commercial and residential buildings. The area came to be known as the Quezon City Central Business District (QC-CBD).Now, these 8 families made up of more than 40 Ragua siblings, grandsons, granddaughters and in-laws, are back with a vengeance, requesting the premier investigating arm of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), to investigate the circumstances surrounding the demolition of their houses and their eviction from the prime parcel of land that they claim to be lawfully and rightfully theirs.

They are also questioning the building and business permits granted to these giant malls which have been raking in hundreds of millions of pesos from renting or leasing the property to other business establishments without paying a single centavo to the “rightful” landowner.

Amid this investigation, the CIDG invited in February this year at least 7 Quezon City officials to shed light on the Ragua heirs’ complaint against city executives. They were asked to explain the legality of the construction and business permits issued to SM North EDSA Mall and Trinoma Complex, an agent privy to the investigation said.

A copy of the 13-page complaint addressed to Senior Superintendent Ronald Lee, CIDG regional chief, dated January 4, 2016, specifically mentioned SM North EDSA and Trinoma Complex as business establishments that have “been erected in their property using false and questionable authority, having been issued building permits and business permits by the local government of Quezon City in violation of the law.”

“We are the lawful heirs of the late Eulalio Ragua, the owner of the Diliman Estate in Quezon City covered by the Original Certificate of Title (OCT) 632,” said Danilo Ragua Lara and Anita A. Lopez in their letter of complaint filed before the CIDG then headed by Director Victor Deona.

The other Ragua heirs gave the two complainants Special Power of Attorney to represent them in the case. Danilo is a grandson of Eulalio Ragua, while Anita is a relative-in-law.

Executive Order

Two executive issuances of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo – Executive Order No. 620 dated May 4, 2007, and EO 620-A signed on September 11, 2007 – paved the way for the massive development of QC-CBD.Both EOs aim to rationalize and speed up the development of East and North Triangles, and the Veterans Memorial area of Quezon City as a well-planned, integrated, and environmentally balanced mixed-use development model. At the same time, Arroyo directed the would-be implementers to respect the rights of the property owners and hammer out deal structures with them.

The said areas are part of the Raguas’ land title OCT 632 which won its reconstitution case at Branch 18 of the Court of First Instance (CFI) in Quezon City, only to be reversed 8 years later by the Court of Appeals (CA) and two years later by the Supreme Court (SC). This virtually handed the case on a silver platter to the respondent, J.M. Tuason & Company, Incorporated. The Ragua case was surprisingly resolved very quickly during the administration of Arroyo, whose husband is a full-blooded Tuason.

Bold move

According to Virgilio T. Pablico, CIDG chief legal officer, the bold move of the Raguas to file complaints was prompted by two recent developments in their investigation.The first was the recovery of the photostat copy of the Owners Duplicate Certificate of Title, OCT 632, in an entrapment operation. The second were the findings of the joint investigation of CIDG and PNP Crime Laboratory document experts that the Land Registration Decree – the basis for the issuance of the Tuasons’ OCT 735 – is a falsified document.

“With these developments, the owner of the title or his heirs will have the right to pursue their legal action against the holders and possessors of the land in order to recover it,” Pablico added.

Reconsitution

The two Raguas are representing more than 40 other relatives from the side of the Ragua patriarch. The latter’s land title case became famous in the early 1980s when Judge Ernani Cruz Paño of CFI Branch 18 in Quezon City (who later became the Court Administrator of the Supreme Court) ruled in favor of Ragua’s petition for reconstitution of OCT 632, ending the 21-year-old court battle.However, the Ragua heirs, who were then considered as squatters on a portion of the property they claimed, were not ready to face the appeal at the Court of Appeals (CA) filed by the two respondents – J.M.Tuason and the state-run Philippine Homesite and Housing Corporation (PHHC), the forerunner of National Housing Authority (NHA).

After a long court battle, the Raguas lost at the CA on May 30, 1989. The court sustained the claim of the respondents that there was no basis for reconstitution of the Raguas’ title OCT 632 because the copy of the land title they used as evidence is not the original photo copy and was not even clear enough to be authenticated. The Raguas claim to have lost the original OCT 632 after the war.

With the reversal, the Raguas filed a petition for review with the the Supreme Court, which was denied on January 30, 2000. On February 28 of the same year, they again filed a motion for reconsideration, which the Supreme Court recently denied with finality.

At least 3 other Ragua heirs have chosen to remain as “squatters” in a small portion of the contested lot despite efforts of the Quezon City government to evict them with the other families living in shanties beside the Trinoma complex.

They are still holding their ground because they believe that the issue resolved in the Supreme Court was only the “reconstitution” aspect and not the “ownership” of the 439-hectare property. – Rappler.com

Part 2: The battle of the land titles

Two investigations – one in Manila and another in Quantico,Virginia – on the documents related to the Ragua heirs’ land claim in Quezon City yield interesting, and possibly far-reaching, results

Dave M. Veridiano
Published 11:00 PM, December 30, 2016
Updated 12:06 AM, December 31, 2016
http://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/investigative/156843-part-2-ragua-heirs-quezon-city-land-dispute

MANILA, Philippines – The new twist in the Raguas’ claim happened in early 2014, after the demolition of the shanties along Agham Road in Quezon City where a Ragua grandson, John Miguel Ragua, and his mother, Cecilia Q. Araullo, resided – ironically – as informal settlers.

The mother and her son went to the CIDG and sought the help of the investigators to arrest a man who had been trying to sell to them an apparently original photo copy of OCT 632, the land title that covered the lot they occupied.In a brief report to Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Director Benjamin Magalong informed him of an entrapment operation on March 14, 2014, at the Visayas avenue branch of BDO Bank. He identified the arrested suspect as Antonio M. Luna, a Quezon City resident.

The report said Luna was believed to be in “possession of a century-age Original Certificate of Title (OCT) for the Diliman Estate” when two CIDG officers arrested him moments after he accepted from the complainant a P5-million manager’s check laced with ultraviolet powder.

In the course of the investigation, it was learned that Luna is the son-in-law of Miguel Soco, one of the lawyers who claimed to have represented the Raguas during their fight to recover the vast property.

The photostat copy of the OCT 632 that Luna tried to sell Cecilia for P10 million was allegedly among the documents entrusted to Soco when the Raguas filed a petition for reconstitution of OCT 632 before a Caloocan City court on August 31, 1964. During that time, the Diliman Estate was still part of Caloocan.

The heirs of the Ragua Estate, then led by the oldest son, Miguel, lost track of the documents after the Ragua patriarch and most of his lawyers died while the case was still pending in court.

Some 21 years later, the Raguas won the celebrated case when Judge Ernani Cruz Paño of Court of First Instance Branch 18 ruled in favor of their land title petition for reconstitution.

Authentication

After recovering the Raguas’ long-lost land title, the document was immediately examined. Pending the result of its authentication by the PNP Crime Laboratory in Camp Crame, the CIDG also sent it to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Evidence Control Unit in Quantico, Virginia, in the US for further “authentication and carbon dating examination.”  The documents sent to the FBI were the following:

  • Photostat of the Owner’s Duplicate Certificate of OCT 632 (Item 1, the recovered land title)
  • Photostat of location plan of Diliman Estate (Item 2)
  • Photocopy of location plan of Diliman Estate (Item 3)
  • Copy of Original Certificate of OCT 632 (Item 4, from the Land Registration Authority)

After 5 months, on October 2, 2014, the FBI returned to Magalong all the documents he earlier sent for authentication with an accompanying examination report signed by Antoine L. Frazier.

In the absence of an original land title for comparison, the examination result was limited only to observations of the documents’ consistencies, particularly in handwriting, printing characteristics, and missing edges of the dry seal when Items 1 and 4 were compared.

The report also said that the logo of the company that made the material used in the document was clearly lifted from Item 1, and that the experts were still awaiting dating information from the said company.

These are strong indications that the recovered documents is the “original photostat copy” based on the CIDG’s own findings and the observation of the FBI experts, a CIDG document expert said.

‘Impostors’

Working on the premise that there could only be one original land title that covers the 439-hectare property, then known as the “Diliman Estate,” the CIDG investigators gathered more documents, mostly materials submitted in court cases which, when analyzed, could pinpoint the fake land title among the Raguas’ OCT 632, the Tuasons’ OCT 735, and the Philippine Homesite and Housing Corporation’s (PHHC’s) TCT 1356.The investigators soon learned that the Tuasons’ OCT 735 – where the PHHC’s TCT 1356 was derived from – came from its mother title, the Tuasons’ Decree 17431.

Decree 17431 was supposedly issued on July 6, 1914. It is part of the documents and pieces of evidence the Tuasons and the PHHC submitted to court to oppose the reconstitution filed by the Ragua patriarch in 1964.

CIDG investigators got copies of the documents submitted by the Raguas and the Tuasons from the court and studied all angles of the case, including possible fabrication and forgery.

It turned out, according to a report, that the Tuasons’ Decree 17431 bears the purported signature of a certain Enrique Altavas as head of the General Land Registration Office (GLRO), the forerunner of the Land Registration Authority (LRA).

Based on the analyzed court records, Altavas’ signature on the Tuasons’ Decree 17431 supposedly issued in 1914 is entirely different from the specimen signature the investigators gathered from Altavas’ service records files duly certified by the Civil Service Commission (CSC).

Even a layman or a non-handwriting expert can see that the questioned signature of Altavas on Decree 17431 differed from the standard signatures of GLRO Chief Altavas, the CIDG report said.

The CSC records also revealed that Altavas became GLRO chief only on June 1, 1933 – almost 19 years after the GLRO issued Decree 17431.

“This only shows how false and fraudulent Tuasons’ Decree 17431 is. Altavas was not even an employee yet of the GLRO when the questioned document was issued so how can he have signed it?” Pablico told Rappler.

The CIDG report obtained by Rappler said that it is clear from the foregoing evidence that the Tuasons, the NHA (formerly the PHHC), and even the government has no valid right, interest, and legal personality in the Ragua Reconstitution Case.

The report concluded that the Tuasons, the NHA, and the Quezon City government, being parties in the reconstitution of the Raguas land title for the Diliman Estate, is an “illegality contrary to the law.”

According to the report, this means that whatever transaction had been consummated between them and other private entities, like the operators of SM North EDSA Mall and Trinoma Complex, are “therefore null and void for they are only impostors without any valid rights whatsoever.” – Rappler.com

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robert
Robert G. Sarmiento Properties
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