Tomas: Ciudad title a fake-A A +A
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
AFTER causing the postponement of a public hearing for the Ciudad project, Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district) is now asking the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to suspend the processing of the project’s application for an environmental compliance certificate (ECC).
Osmeña said the land titles submitted for the ECC application of the Ciudad project, a joint undertaking of the Provincial Government and Fifth Avenue Development Corp., are allegedly fake.
Fifth Avenue Property Development Corp., the private developer of the project, needs an ECC to secure a building permit from the Cebu City Office of the Building Official.
But according to Osmeña’s letter to DENR, the title of the land occupied by the National Grains Authority, now National Food Authority (NFA), had the word “canceled” on it.
The land occupied by the NFA is part of the area to be developed by the Capitol and Fifth Avenue.
Osmeña said he has acquired a copy of Transfer Certificate of Title No. 125869.
However, he said, the document that Fifth Avenue submitted to DENR allegedly does not
have the word “canceled” on it and contains, instead, the certification that “is an existing title or not yet canceled as of this date.”
He said the new copy of the title also indicated that the TCT No. 125869 was already replaced with TCT No. 162173-15.
“Submission of fake titles is a serious crime. And this should be investigated before any further action be taken by your office,” Osmeña told the DENR.
Provincial Attorney Marino Martinquilla said Capitol’s answers to Osmeña’s allegations are already in his letter to DENR.
Martinquilla said the title was canceled because the NFA wanted the property transferred to its name, but this did not push through.
This is the reason why the title was stamped “canceled.”
However, Martinquilla said, the Register of Deeds had made the necessary corrections.
He said he will show Sun.Star Cebu copies of the original land titles today.
“It is just an attempt to muddle the issue. There is no doubt we have valid titles of the property,” he said.
But aside from that, Osmeña said, he was advised by his lawyers that a public hearing for the application of ECC may be a violation of the sub judice rule because the Ciudad project is linked to a case that he and others filed against Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.
The sub judice rule regulates publication of matters that are under consideration of the court. Publications that are considered sub judice constitute contempt of court.
The congressman said there is a pending motion filed in court for preliminary injunction to enjoin the construction of the Ciudad project.
“It is expected that the court will resolve this issue in the coming days. Further action to be taken by your office regarding the processing of the application for an ECC may be considered preemption of the action to be taken by the court,” read Osmeña’s letter to the DENR.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 19, 2011.