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CARP land stolen from beneficiaries

/ 12:14 AM August 03, 2016

Sixty-nine farmers were given pieces of land under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program. Somebody told their leader/elder that a buyer wants to see the original title (owner’s copy). The leader lent their title but it was not returned. The person who borrowed the title sold it to a businesswoman who claimed to be a relative of a famous lawyer/government official/real estate businessman.

The businesswoman made a partial payment—P2 million—to cover the CARP beneficiaries’ financial obligation at Landbank, then had the title reconstituted since the Register of Deeds’ office and records were burned. As we write, she still holds the title.

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A buyer exacted a deal with the beneficiaries. They signed a Conditional Deed of Sale in favor of the buyer. The buyer paid the farmers’ balance at Landbank and gave them advance payments, but the farmers and Landbank could not give their title.

The CARP beneficiaries wrote a letter (in their dialect) to the Landbank personnel. The letter stated that Landbank should return the money of the businesswoman for they did not have a transaction (sale or mortgate of their property) with her. No action was taken by the Landbank personnel. In that letter, the farmer-beneficiaries stated they had already agreed to the terms and conditions of the buyer. The buyer will pay the farmer/beneficiaries’ balance at Landbank and give them much more so they have something to start with. Also, the buyer will not demolish their houses that are situated in the area. Lastly, their local cooperative will have the privilege to assign who, from among the beneficiaries, will work in the project of the buyer.

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The Landbank personnel insisted that the buyer must get the title from the businesswoman holding it for P8 million. The legitimate buyer reported the anomaly to the Landbank personnel’s immediate supervisor, yet the supervisor confirmed the decision of the bank’s personnel.

Can anybody just reconstitute a title without the permission of the owners? Is the legitimate buyer obliged to pay the businesswoman P8 million when she paid just P2 million to Landbank without the permission of the farmer-beneficiaries? Is the Landbank personnel criminally liable for obviously being a partner of the businesswoman in what appears to be an invalid, fraudulent transaction? How could a government employee, knowing that the person holding the title illegally acquired it, demand its payment?

If the P8 million is paid to the businesswoman then the buyer cannot give much to the beneficiaries. The farmers are poor and are not properly educated. Should their land be taken from them, their children and grandchildren will suffer more than them.

I believe that more transactions similar to this had already been consummated. Please help me expose this kind of unlawful deeds by greedy businesspeople and their government allies. I am willing to give more details.

—TONY NAVARRO, [email protected]

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TAGS: CARP, Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, LandBank
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