Portions of the lots for which P255.55 million road right of way (RRoW) compensations in General Santos City were claimed actually belong to the government but still the syndicate got paid for these through the use of falsified documents.
This was revealed during the resumption of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee inquiry into the P8.7-billion RRoW scam in General Santos City on Wednesday.
Leonardo Dinopol, of the General Santos City Assessors Office, told the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee that upon verification, the lots covered by the RRoW supposedly in Barangay Lagao were actually owned by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
“That is public land, sir, it’s a road. Our records indicate that it is assessed in the name of DPWH,” Dinopol told Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, during questioning.
Dinopol was referring to the parcel of land claimed by a certain Ramon I. Ballesterso who was paid P29,998,000 for his claim.
“It’s DPWH sir,” replied Dinopol when pressed by Gordon who was the real owner of the land that has falsified title under the name of Ballesterso.
Ironically, it was the DPWH which released the P255.55 million in payments for the alleged fake claimants of the nine parcels of land covered by the RRoW in General Santos City.
The verification was done after then Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson doubted the amount and the real owners of the supposed lots that were covered by the RRoW project.
Revelation jolts Dick
Apparently shocked by Dinopol’s claims, Gordon said “so, it’s now turning out, if he (Dinopol) is right, that they (syndicate) are collecting for government property.”
Ali Macmod, of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 12, said no one from the DPWH requested a map or survey of the subject lots covered by the RRoW.
“I did not receive any request from my office pertinent to the road right of way,” Macmod said.
Engineer Romeo Escorpizo, of the DPWH-Infrastructure Right-of-Way and Resettlement, also admitted there was no actual survey conducted on the nine parcels of land that were covered by the RRoW project and depended on the titles presented to them in determining the owners of the properties.
The Department of Budget and Management released payments amounting to P255.55 million to the bogus claimants using special powers of attorney.
The Blue Ribbon Committee had previously established the actual locations of the nine parcels of land covered by the RRoW scam were different from the area described in the titles submitted by the syndicate.
This was confirmed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) during its probe of the matter.
Documents obtained by the Daily Tribune showed the lots were actually located in Barangay Apopong, General Santos City, contrary to the documents submitted and supposedly certified by the Land Registration Authority (LRA) to be in Barangay Lagao also in General Santos City.
The parcels of land were covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) Numbers 112432 comprised of 90 square meters, 112431 (136 sqm), 112430 (137 sqm), 112437 (90 sqm) — registered under the name of Richmond Land Innovations Inc. and TCT Nos. 122563, 122568, 122566, 122564, 122565 — registered under the name of Feliza B. Lintang all measuring 300 square meters.
These lots were all situated in Barangay Apopong, General Santos City as indicated in the records of the local Register of Deeds.
Forged names, numbers
The syndicate behind the P8.7-billion scam apparently copied the numbers of the TCT but presented other names as owners, different locations and much bigger in size than the actual lots.
In the documents submitted for verification by the NBI-CEMRO in Region 12, which were allegedly certified by the LRA, the lots were described as located along the national highway in Barangay Lagao, General Santos City.
Submitted as registered owners were Ballesterso (TCT-112432), Nenita S. Austria (TCT-112431), Ricardo B. Canada (TCT-112430) — all with identical 25,713 sqm; Julieta S. Fernandez (TCT-112437) with 24,713 sqm; John B. Bacudo (TCT-122563) without actual size; Mary Ann A. Joyce (TCT-122568); Maria Faye Villamarin (TCT-122566-122564-122565), with identical 23,238 sqm.
It was observed that the “title numbers of legitimate landowners have been copied to make it appear they are not as big as those fake titles.”