It seems the Maysilo Estate Scammers, that are peddling their OCT. 994 dated April 19, 1917, are working their evil once again.
It is important to read this article to revive our memories on these scammers. #MaysiloEstate
Save the titling system
MANILA, Philippines – You may recall that on Feb. 20, 2006, I wrote about a legal fight (“The value of a title”), just one of many cases in Caloocan where land-grabbing threatens to seriously undermine the credibility of the land titling system in our country. Property owners who acquired their properties in good faith, developed them, paid taxes on them, suddenly faced a claim by a lawyer that he, in fact, owned their properties.
That lawyer, Jose B. Dimson, claimed ownership of a very large property on the basis of a land title of doubtful authenticity but which, he claimed, predated the (up to that point) original title on which the subsequent titles of the property owners were based. Thus one claim affected dozens of properties. Despite evidence to invalidate that claim, Dimson’s case kept winning in the courts. Property owners doggedly fought the spurious claim. One such group is composed of the Araneta Institute of Agriculture, Manotok Realty, Inc., Sto. Niño Kapitbahay Association, Inc. and CLT Realty Corp.
The legal fight between the group I mentioned above, and the person claiming their land, has revealed some interesting details since I last wrote about it.
The lawyers of the claimant, Dimson, besides admitting he’d never actually possessed the lands he claimed, said he had never paid taxes on them either (which is a way of asserting responsible ownership). What’s more, Dimson’s own lawyers admitted their client had never been a lawyer at all. So how could he have obtained ownership of the properties he said he earned by way of lawyers’ fees?
Not to mention the impossibility of Dimson’s claims as to the person who transferred the land to him being entitled to do so. Dimson said he got his title to the land as attorney’s fees from a certain Bartolome Rivera. Rivera alleged in turn that he inherited his title as an heir of Ma. Concepcion Vidal. The courts, in the case of Republic v. Lilia Sevilla and Jose Seelin, held that “[t]hus, it is physically and genetically impossible for him [Bartolome Rivera] to be the grandson of Maria de la Concepcion Vidal.” The Land Registration Commission, in a report dated August 3, 1981, pointed out that “[i]f Bartolome Rivera was 65 years old in 1963 or thereabouts, he was born on or before 1898. If Maria de la Concepcion Vidal was 9 years old on or before December 3, 1912, she was born on or before 1903. Could a grandson be older than his grandmother?”
Not to mention Dimson basing his claim on a title that, he claimed, predated the title of the Araneta Institute of Agriculture group. He said his OCT was dated Apr. 19, 1917. Those whose lands he wanted to take away could only point to an OCT dated May 3, 1917. But when Dimson’s people were asked to produce their title, they could produce none. On the other hand, the aggrieved property owners demonstrated to the Supreme Court recently that only one OCT No. 994 existed: issued on May 3, 1917. No less than the Solicitor General then, Antonio Nachura, personally and formally presented to the Supreme Court en banc the original OCT No. 994 issued on May 3, 1917 (the original copy itself taken from the Land Registration Authority vault).
Reports of the Department of Justice and the Senate Fact-Finding Committee had also previously pointed out that Dimson’s (alleged) OCT was fraudulent. The Senate, upon investigating the matter, said Dimson’s so-called title was “a fabrication perpetrated by Mr. Norberto Vasquez, Jr., former Deputy Registrar of Deeds of Caloocan City” and by Atty. Yolanda Alfonso, Registrar of Deeds of Caloocan City, who “consented to the acquisition of the property by … her children adopting 19 April 1917 as the date of registration of OCT 994 knowing the same to be erroneous … is a clear case of dishonesty, malice and bad faith.” We know Alfonso did these things, because the Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal ordered by the Office of the President. The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Court of Appeals.
The Department of Justice then issued a report stating that the two contested OCTs (Dimson’s fake and the one present property owners derived their titles from) were never actually presented to the Supreme Court. What the Supreme Court used as the basis for saying there were two OCT Nos. 994 were the certifications appearing on the faces of the TCTs submitted by the two sides: but in truth, only one OCT No. 994 existed, issued on May 3, 1917.
However, complicating matters is that the Supreme Court issued a decision in another case, which upheld a Court of Appeals decision that there were two OCTs and which then upheld Dimson’s as the original one. In a sense, the Supreme Court ended up trapped by the Court of Appeals’ refusal to take judicial notice of the findings of the Senate and Department of Justice. If a court, however, took these reports into evidence, it would shatter some of the previous assumptions made by the courts.
These details, and many more, are now before the Supreme Court. It has embarked on reviewing a decision by one of its own divisions. This review presents a last chance for it to reverse the court’s upholding of the Dimson fraud. With evidence aplenty to help rectify assumptions originally made by the courts, evidence gathered by the Senate and the Department of Justice, decades of lawful property owners being harassed and imperiled can come to an end.
The Supreme Court, acting as a whole, holds the preservation of the rule of law as it pertains to the ownership of land, in its hands. It can stem the tide of chaos in our titling system. Or it can open the floodgates to an epidemic of Dimson-style land-grabbing. A title can either mean something, or mean nothing: it can either be maintained by the rule of law or the law of the jungle.