BAGUIO CITY – A three-peat action is being prepared here to reclaim the 7.8 hectare lot within the Busol watershed that was illegally titled by unscrupulous individuals.
Baguio Regreening Movement (BRM) chairman Erdolfo Balajadia said the BRM, city government, Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources and the Baguio Water District will work together to pursue the reversion process to cancel the irregular titles, the court case against those responsible for the illegal titling and the possible filing of a petition for the issuance of a temporary environmental protection order (TEPO) or a Writ of Kalikasan to protect the Busol, one of the few remaining pine stands in the city.
DENR-CAR legal officer Rainier Laita said they plan to endorse the case to the Office of the Solicitor General for the filing of a case for reversion of the spurious title
But city legal officer Melchor Carlos Rabanes said the city government as early as July 28, 2014 forwarded the matter to the OSG for the filing of reversion case to cancel the Original Certificate of Title No. 018-0-162 covers an area of 77,849 square meters which was subdivided into 22 lots with duly issued Transfer Certificates of Title (TCTs).
Also on Sept. 6, 2013, the city also filed an affidavit of adverse claim for annotation to the contested title and the 22 derivative ones
Rabanes said that in 2013, city assessor Nilda Navarro discovered the spurious titles upon review of applications for tax declaration covering the subdivided lots and noticed the lack of revalidation before its subdivision.
The subject lot is covered by a 211 title or part of those titles issued under Civil Reservation Case No. 1 Record 211 and which were declared void by the Supreme Court because the court that issued the same had no jurisdiction. The said titles can be legalized only upon undergoing validation proceedings.
Balajadia said they will also request the Benguet Provincial Prosecutor’s Office to continue investigating the complaint and to file a case against those responsible for the titling for falsification of documents.
The Benguet prosecutor which assumed jurisdiction of the complaint after the Baguio Prosecutor’s Office inhibited from the probe earlier suspended investigation on the ground of prejudicial questions.
Balajadia said the BRM believes that the elements of prejudicial question do not apply in the case.
The BRM chair said the agencies will also study the possibility of filing a petition for the issuance of a TEPO or a Writ of Kalikasan to once and for all “stop the destruction, degradation and occupation of the watershed that supplies 35-40 percent of the city’s water needs.”
“I hope these people will realize the cost of their action to this generation and the next,” Balajadia lamented.