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[Benguet] Private claims hound Baguias town hall titling

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 [ sunstar.com.ph
AN OLD building, which used to house the town hall of Buguias, is the subject of a tug-of-war between the local government and private land claimants. Lawyer Apolinario Camsol opposed the declaration of the old municipal building located at Abatan under the name of the Municipal Government. Camsol, also a member of the Benguet Provincial Board, represents the heirs of Morris Camsol, the donor of the lot where the building is located. Camsol claimed the declaration of the old building in favor of the municipal government was done with malice, dishonesty and in bad faith.
"(This) is in patent disregard to the agreements covered by documents executed between the past municipal officials and the family of Morris Camsol," the lawyer's letter to Municipal Assessor George Batonan claimed. He is seeking the cancellation of the tax declaration of the three-storey building of the local government. Batonan denied Camsol's allegations, saying there are no documents that transferred the ownership of the building to the Camsol heirs.
"Since ownership of the building belongs to the municipality, I see nothing irregular in the issuance of a tax declaration in the name of the municipality. It is just but an exercise of the duties and functions of my office, otherwise I would be considered remiss in my functions," Batonan in his reply letter said. The old structure currently houses a law office and is used as residential area. Batonan said the tax declaration of the municipal building could not be cancelled, saying a government property should not be alienated in favor of a private individual. (JC)
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