The Maysilo Estate Scammers are at it AGAIN!

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

http://www.inquirer.net/specialreports/propertyguide/aroundtown/view.php?db=1&article=20070910-87602&pageID=1

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.

 

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Maysilo: “Mother of all land titling scandals”

AS I SEE IT
‘Mother of all land titling scandals’
By Neal Cruz
Inquirer
Last updated 10:53pm (Mla time) 09/11/2007
THE SUPREME COURT EN BANC HEARD oral arguments for and against claimants to large tracts of prime land spanning four Metro Manila cities: Quezon, Caloocan, Malabon and Valenzuela. The Court will have to decide which of two original certificates of titles (OCTs) dating back to 1917, both numbered 994, and from which hundreds of transfer certificates of titles have emanated is authentic. The decision will finally settle what the late Chief Justice and Senate President Marcelo Fernan described as “the mother of all land title scandals in the country.” With Fernan as chair, the Senate justice and human rights committee, together with the committee on urban planning and housing resettlement, investigated this Maysilo Estate case.

The scandal started in 1962 when Caloocan City registrar of deeds Yolanda Alfonso, together with assistant registrar of deeds Norberto Vazquez Jr., allowed the change of registration date of an original certificate of title (OCT) of Maysilo Estate, making it appear that there were two such titles to the same huge track of land spanning portions of the four cities and affecting hundreds of thousands of residents and businessmen from Sangandaan all the way to Monumento in Caloocan, up to Balintawak in Quezon City, including portions of the North Luzon Expressway and Araneta Subdivision in Malabon. Now, two OCTs— OCT 994 issued on April 19, 1917 and OCT 994 issued on May 3, 1917—cover the same parcel of land. Ironically, it was the Supreme Court itself that made the confusion worse by accepting, in a 1992 decision, the existence of two OCTs and ruling that the OCT dated April 19, 1917, being issued earlier than the OCT dated May 3, 1917 was the superior and valid title. Thus, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) lost its huge compound in Caloocan under a three-decade-old TCT originating from OCT 994 of May 3, 1917, to a claimant whose title originated from OCT 994 dated April 1917. But a technical plotting by the Land Registration Authority (LRA) showed that the claimant’s “lot” was located more than 12,000 meters away from the MWSS property. This decision wreaked havoc on the country’s land titling system.

Then Justice Secretary Teofisto Guingona formed a fact-finding inter-agency committee chaired by Undersecretary Ricardo Nepomuceno Jr. The investigation found that OCT 994 dated April 19, 1917 was non-existent for being “a fabrication” by Alfonso and Vazquez who “acted maliciously, fraudulently and in bad faith” when they signed a TCT in the name of a person bearing a wrong date of registration.

The investigation report said Alfonso’s “acquiescence in the alteration of the date of registration of OCT 994 in the titles” of a person as well as her act of deliberately ignoring the legal safeguards, especially her failure to require the presentation of a subdivision plan duly approved by the LRA or by the Land Management Bureau, for the titles of the applicant, are sufficient basis to find her guilty of grave misconduct. President Joseph Estrada dismissed Alfonso and Vazquez for grave misconduct and dishonesty.

The dismissals were affirmed by the Supreme Court. Associate Justice Conchita Carpio Morales, who wrote the decision for the second division, stressed: “By failing to prevent the irregularity that she (Alfonso) had reason to suspect all along or to take immediate steps to rectify it, petitioner had tolerated the same and allowed it to wreak havoc on our land titling system. Sadly that condition continues to rear its ugly head today.”

This fabrication of OCT 994 dated April 19, 1917 has a bearing on the awarding by the Court of the vast Maysilo Estate to its rightful owners. The estate is being contested by claimants using the two OCTs: Manotok Realty and Real Estate Corp. and Araneta Institute of Agriculture Inc., which use OCT 994 dated May 3, 1917 as basis for their claim of ownership, and the heirs of Jose Dimson and his assignee, CLT Development Corp., who use OCT 994 dated April 19, 1917 as their legal basis.

An adverse decision based on the fake OCT would set a precedent that would endanger the rights of the rest of the country’s legitimate land title holders and the integrity of the country’s land titles.

The Manotoks and AIA have been in peaceful, continuous and legal possession of the Maysilo Estate since the 1940s. But some time in the 1960s, Dimson filed a case to claim ownership of the vast estate, using as basis the spurious OCT 994 dated April 19, 1917. Dimson was said to be a lawyer of Ma. Conception Vidal’s grandchild, Bernardino Rivera, and as payment for legal services rendered, the latter gave him a deed of conveyance of 25 percent of his share of the Maysilo Estate.

Then Pasig Judge Cecilia Muñoz Palma confirmed the conveyance but disallowed the actual awarding of property and title to Dimson in 1966 because his 25 percent share had already been properly adjudicated by Bernardino Rivera to his heirs and assignees. This meant there was no more available land to be given to Dimson.

In 1977, or 11 years later, Dimson moved to execute the deed of conveyance issued by the Pasig judge before a Caloocan court. Despite the irregularity and without the presentation of the original of OCT 994 and the subdivision plan approved by the LRA or the Bureau of Lands, Caloocan Judge Marcelino Sayo granted Dimson’s motion and issued in his favor TCT 15169 covering 500,000 sq m of Lot 25-A-2 of the Maysilo Estate. This lot is the property covered by the TCT of the AIA.