>> Friday, March 25, 2011
By Isagani S. Liporada
BAGUIO CITY – Land titles were found to be overlapping here over government and private properties following requests for certificates of zoning clearance on properties offered as collateral for bank loans filed with the City Planning and Development Office.
This has sparked a controversy which is now turning to be hot in this cold tourism resort.
The city government and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples are now in a legal battle over issuance of certificates of ancestral land titles here over Forbes Park by the latter which city officials said was illegal.
Now, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is expected to join the fray following requests for certificates of zoning clearance.
The subject properties purported to secure loans by private individuals include Wright Park in Barangay Lualhati, Pacdal; and the realty upon which Casa Vallejo is built.
“We were shocked upon verification of the real properties covered by separate requests for zoning clearances,” CPDO chief Evelyn Cayat said. “We discovered the lands covered by ancestral titles overlapped with city government, national government, and private properties.”
A perusal of documents gathered by CPDO revealed privately-owned subdivided properties overlapped with Wright Park area were derived from Certificate of Ancestral Land Title (CALT) numbered 130 and 28.
CALT-130 (102, 302 sq. m.) was originally issued by NCIP to heirs of Josephine Abanag; while CALT-28 was originally under the name of the heirs of Lauro Carantes.
The Original Certificate of Title (OCT) over the Abanag-awarded CALT was issued by NCIP Nov. 10, 2010.
It is now subdivided into 31-parcels of lot divided among purported heirs and covered by Transfer Certificates of Title (TCT) 018-2010002797 to 2828 as per CALT-130 memorandum of encumbrance dated December 8, 2010.
Private persons under whose names the parcels are now titled include Mercedes Tabon, Joan Gorio, Virginia Gao-an, and Isias Abanag.
Of the 31-parcels, Lot 5 designated under the name of the heirs of Abanag and Mercedes Tabon overlaps with Lot 67 covered by TCT T-32093 in the name of the city government.
The city property has an area of 5,885.70 sq. m.
On the other hand, titles derived from the Carantes-original CALT are now covered by TCTs 018-2011000069 to 71, all under the name of Gorio and has an aggregate area of 3,488 sq. m.
OCT to the Carantes CALT is dated April 7, 2009 while the TCTs over the same were issued only Jan. 14, 2011.
City legal officer Melchor Carlos Rabanes said, “Our main concern is the city’s property.”
Guaranteeing readiness for a protracted legal battle with NCIP and alleged private owners of the properties he added, “We are currently studying all legal remedies to protect city government interest right now. The fight is not limited to NCIP versus the city government of Baguio alone.”
“The controversy now also includes private lot-owners affected by the CALTs issued by NCIP. We’re hoping they join us to finally put an end to the issuance of questionable CALTs purporting to be legitimate.”
Meantime, another tract of land covered by CALT-129 in the name of the Heirs of Cosen Piraso likewise overlies with Philippine government property part of which is where Casa Vallejo is built. DENR is administrator of the property.
CALT-129 with an area of 5,050 sq. m. is now subdivided into 8-parcels covered by TCTs 018-2010002858 to 66. OCT to the same was issued November 10, 2010 while the encumbrances were entered in said title Dec. 8, 2010.
Rabanes revealed city letters are in the works asking the Office of the Solicitor General and DENR to step into the picture to protect national and city interests over the properties.