AMADO P. MACASAET
‘In a word, the Court has documents submitted by the Manahans that cannot be verified and an admission by the Barquez that they submitted fake evidence. That leaves the Manotoks as a claimant with a valid claim – verified contract of sale deed of conveyance and a Torrens title.’
THE Manahans, represented by supposed man and wife Rosendo and Felicitas Manahan, in claiming that the family has a valid claim to the disputed 34-hectare property long occupied by the heirs of Severino Manotok, appear to have submitted to the Court of Appeals documents which do not exist.
This is obviously intended to support the admission that they do not have a title to the disputed property.
The basis of their alleged validity of claim is a deed of conveyance supposedly issued in 2000 by Ernesto Adobo, director of the Bureau of Lands. The deed does not have the signature of the secretary of agriculture and natural resources.
It is the lack of this signature that emboldened the Manahans to say that the deed of conveyance issued to Severino Manotok as early as 1923 is void. But it does exist as shown by a copy certified by the National Archives.
The Manahans told the Court of Appeals that there is a General Memorandum Order No. 1 supposedly issued by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources in 1977 allowing the director of lands to substitute his signature for that of the secretary.
The allegation states “then secretary of agriculture and natural resources.” The Manahans did not even know that at that time the secretary was Jun Leido Jr. from Mindoro Oriental.
The lawyers of the Manahans promised to submit a copy of the Memorandum Order.
They have not done so even as the Court of Appeals has already submitted its report to the Supreme Court before the Supreme Court makes a final resolution.
The lawyers cannot submit the document. It does not exist. The deed of conveyance issued by Ernesto Adobo is void. It has no basis.
One of the Manotoks took pains to ask the Department of Agriculture for a certified copy of General Memorandum Order No. 1 She was told that the copy should be in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
So off she went to the DENR. A certain Galo Martinez showed the Manotok heir all the memorandums issued in 1977 kept in the vault. There is no such General Memorandum Order No. 1.
Martinez told her back in those days, specifically 1977, memos were never called general memorandum orders. They were called “department administrative order”, “ministry order” or department memorandum order (1977).
In an official communication addressed to Ma. Milagros V. Manotok, Galo C. Martinez Jr., chief, records management and documentation division of the DENR, declared “please be informed that this office does not have in its custody a General Memorandum Order No. 1 signed by then Minister of Environment and Natural Resources issued in 1977.”
The Manahans also submitted to the Court of Appeals a machine copy of a document showing that they had a contract of sale signed by Dean Worcester in 1913.
A certified copy of this document, supposedly on file with the National Archives, has not been produced either.
Obviously, the Manahans wanted the Court to believe that their contract of sale over the disputed property was obtained ahead of the Manotoks who had their contract signed in 1923.
But the Manotoks submitted to the Court a copy of their contract certified by the National Archives. The Manahans did not have a certified copy.
The Barquez, the other party in the dispute, admitted before the Court of Appeals that they submitted a fake document.
In a word, the Court has documents submitted by the Manahans that cannot be verified and an admission by the Barquez that they submitted fake evidence.
That leaves the Manotoks as a claimant with a valid claim – verified contract of sale deed of conveyance and a Torrens title.
Strangely, there has been no question on the genuineness of the documents submitted in evidence by the Manahans. Nobody except the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.
Where does the Supreme Court go from here?
The Court of Appeals submitted to the Supreme Court a 159-page report. This report shall be the basis for the High Tribunal to make a final decision.
Nobody except the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court en banc knows about the report. The Manotoks asked the High Tribunal to order the CA to furnish them with a copy.
They filed two motions. Both motions were denied.
The Manotoks also asked for oral arguments. The Supreme Court gave them the thumbs down.
In effect, the denial by the Supreme Court to order the Court of Appeals to furnish the litigants a copy each of the report amounts to a denial to due process in the sense that a ruling will be made without giving the parties the right to question in the sense that a ruling will be made without giving the parties the right to question or seek clarification on the report.
Oral arguments would have substituted for the copy of the report. But again, the Supreme Court denied request of the Manahans for the orals.
(To be continued)