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Cabanatuan City folk seek transfer of land to DENR

[ Manila Bulletin Online ] September 22, 2008

CABANATUAN CITY — Some 5,000 residents of this city have appealed to President Arroyo to make them realize their long-time dream of owning the land they have been occupying.

In a petition, five chairmen of villages located in the Fr. Crisostomo Estate here pleaded to the President to order the secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) "to terminate the administration by DAR" of the property.

They requested President Arroyo to transfer the administration by DAR of the estate to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), particularly to the regional director of DENR who holds office in San Fernando City, Pampanga.

Also, they urged the President to order the DENR "to conduct an investigation and survey, report and assess or process such applications of the occupants with the purpose that the property may be titled in the names of the qualified possessors-beneficiaries."

Assisted by lawyer Norberto L. Cajucom, the petitioners said it is the DENR which is the proper agency to administer property.

They said that the estate in question could be considered "as a public land for the reason that the last will and testament of the late Rev. Father Gregorio Crisostomo who was the reported owner of the Crisostomo Estate, contain no technical description of the property which he had donated to the government so that the latter may use it for the benefit of the poor."

For this reason, the petitioners said, the last will and testament is "void ab initio" (void from the start) and, therefore, it is as if the late Crisostomo had not donated anything to the government and the takeover thereof by DAR is unlawful and said tract of land should be considered as public land over which the DENR has the authority to administer it."

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