Sta. Barbara resident loses land to ‘scammers’

September 5, 2009 at 8:57 am Leave a comment

DAGUPAN CITY -– If you own a piece of land legally, can you still lose it?

This is a story of a native of a woman from Sta. Barbara whose family has migrated to the United States, leaving behind the piece of land where they were born and lived, to caretakers.

Thelma Padilla Tolete accused officials of the Register of Deeds for Pangasinan of conspiring with “land scammers” and titled her family’s land in Minien East, Sta. Barbara town, in the name of the scammers.

Tolete arrived from the United States last year and found that the “very land which has always been our ancestral and family residence had been titled and used as a collateral for a loan by another person.”

In her complaint filed with the court, Tolete said Genaro de Vera, Macario Jose and his wife Aida submitted falsified documents to the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources (Penro) in Dagupan City and to the Register of Deeds in Lingayen.

“Relying on the falsified documents, the Penro issued a Free Patent in the name of de Vera,” an octogenarian from Malasiqui town and said to be illiterate. He thumbmarked the documents instead of signing them.

“Through the machinations of (the Joses), the free patent was cancelled by the Registrar of Deeds and a Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) was issued in the name of Aida Jose,” Tolete complained.

She said the conversion of the Free Patent into TCT in the name of Aida Jose was effected either because of the criminal negligence or direct criminal complicity of three officials of the Register of Deeds, who lent their official cooperation in order for (the Joses),the real masterminds in the ‘title grab,’ to achieve their evil objective.

The DENR issues free patents for unoccupied lands, but Tolete said the family house still stands on the land in question and is occupied by caretakers. A cadastral survey in 1991 showed that it is owned by Tolete’s mother Justina Cacho Padilla.

“How could a Free Patent be issued to someone from Malasiqui and who contradicts his claim that he is residing and actual possessor of our land?,” Tolete said.

She said she will also file a complaint against DENR employees with the Ombudsman.

Tolete also wondered how the Registry of Deeds easily converted the Free Patent issued to Genaro into TCT in the name of Jose, when the Free Patent was only a year old. Free Patents, according to law, can only be transferred after five years, and only to a family member.

“Clearly, this could happen only with the connivance of some people in the Office of the Registrar,” she said.

Tolete petitioned the court to cancel the TCT.

But Tolete said the Joses were clearly not interested in occupying the land as they never asserted ownership over the land.

“The scam involves merely the fake acquisition of a public document which they used as a collateral for a loan. I am reliably informed that she delivered the title to a lender for a loan of P400,000,”she said.

Entry filed under: News.

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