Thursday, September 18, 2008 [ sunstar.com.ph ]
By Rimaliza Opiña
THE Deputy Register of Deeds (ROD) of Baguio is under preventive suspension for 90 days by the Land Registration Authority (LRA).
Lawyer Vicente Angeles was charged for grave misconduct for the alleged anomalous issuance of Original Certificate of Title (OCT) 282, under the name of the heirs of Placido Carantes.
The investigator, Joel Mari Martin Bigornia, also recommended for the conduct of a separate and in-depth investigation "to determine the extent of participation of all ROD personnel relative to the uncovered anomalous issuance of the subject title."
A motion for reconsideration has been filed recently by Angeles. He cried foul over the decision, citing lack of due process when the order was issued.
Angeles said he was not given the chance to face his accuser or was he given time to submit his answers to the investigation requested by a certain Benedicto Parchamento who, according to him, does not exist and that the address given to the LRA is a bakery located at the public market.
The timing of events leading to his suspension is suspicious, he added.
Angeles said he was given only 72 hours to submit his explanation, yet postage markings on the envelope reveal the order was delivered August 11, received by the Baguio Post Office on August 12, and was delivered to his desk on August 26. He was suspended the following day.
Registered mail normally takes five days to deliver, Angeles said. "I was surprised. This was done at one time," he added.
"It is not I who should be investigated but personnel from the LRA," Angeles stressed, referring to personnel who issued a certification confirming the authenticity of OCT 282.
Angeles said he had nothing to do with certifications issued by one Helen Tababa, head of the LRA records section and one lawyer Salvador Oriel, also an employee of the LRA, who reportedly issued the decree number of the title.
The case stemmed from a letter from Parchamento who requested for an investigation regarding OCT 282.
The documents issued by Tababa and Oriel were used as evidence by the investigator to conclude that OCT 282 and its derivative titles were anomalously issued.
Angeles certified these titles as valid, which were made as basis of Councilor Rocky Thomas Balisong to claim that the property where the SM Cyber Building stands, is not owned by SM, but by the heirs of Carantes.
Records showed the serial number of the title had been tampered with and pages of the judicial form were pasted to make it appear as a single, continuous form.
Verification at the vault section of the LRA reveals no such title exists.
Further verification showed the serial number of the title was issued to a property in Pampanga.
Both Tababa and Oriel denied issuing a certification that the title was valid.
What was issued was a certification there was no decree number issued for the title. "Based on facts, there is reasonable ground to believe OCT 282 in the name of the heirs of Carantes as well as the derivative titles thereof were issued on the basis of dubious documents," a portion of the resolution stated.
Angeles argued he certified as valid the titles because there is no court order declaring them as void. This was confirmed by lawyer Juanito Ampaguey, head of the city ROD, who said the titles of SM and Carantes are presumed valid until a court nullifies them.