By Edu Punay Updated June 15, 2009 12:00 AM [ philstar.com ]
MANILA, Philippines - The legal battle for the ownership of a property on Commonwealth Ave. in Quezon City being leased by the University of the Philippines (UP) to Ayala Land continues even after a lower court has junked a petition of a private person claiming ownership of the land.
This is because the Supreme Court has yet to rule on a petition of former owners of the 78-hectare land covering the UP – Ayala Land TechnoHub, Jorge Chin and Renato Mallari, their lawyer Prospero Anave said.
In a phone interview with The STAR, Anave contested the claim of Theodore Te, UP’s vice president for legal affairs, that the petition of his clients seeking to nullify a resolution of the SC in 2003 that granted the land to UP does not hold merit as the decision of the High Court on the property dispute was already final.
“The title of Cañero covers only 5 hectares while the title of Mallari and Chin covers 78 hectares and was never questioned in either the trial court of Court of Appeals before it reached the SC. These are two different titles with two separate cases,” he argued.
Last June 4, the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 217 dismissed a petition for injunction filed by Domingo Cañero against Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) and Makati Development Corporation (MDC).
In his order, Judge Santiago Arenas cited the ruling of the Supreme Court decision dated Sept. 4, 2004 that upheld the title of UP and nullified Cañero’s Transfer Certificate Title (TCT) RT-57204 (240042).
Arenas, quoting the SC decision, said that “any ruling deviating from such doctrine is to be viewed as a deliberate intent to sabotage the rule of law and will no longer be countenanced.”
With the dismissal of Cañero’s complaint, Arenas also ordered the dissolution of the temporary restraining order (TRO) that he earlier issued against ALI and MDC. He also issued a protective order in favor of ALI and MDC, which, among others, ordered Cañero, his counsel, and other persons acting on his behalf to leave the premises of UP-Ayala Land TechnoHub upon receipt of the order.
After being served with a copy of the order of the trial court, Cañero’s group reportedly immediately left the area outside the gates of the TechnoHub, where they had assembled for a few days.
With this ruling from the lower court, UP stood by its ownership of the land and also refuted the claim of two other private persons over the 78-hectare property that had again reached the Supreme Court.
Te stressed that UP’s ownership of the land covering the UP-Ayala TechnoHub was categorically upheld by the High Court in its Sept. 8, 2004 ruling on a petition filed by Canero.
The SC decision, penned by then Associate Justice and now Chief Justice Reynato Puno, told “courts and unscrupulous lawyers to stop entertaining spurious cases seeking further to assail respondent UP’s title.”
Te argued that the SC decision on the case of Cañero also applies to the case of Chin and Mallari – even if the two cases were different and involve separate titles.
Cañero had claimed ownership of the 5,000-square meter lot covered by TCT RT-57204 (240042) of the Registry of Deeds of Quezon City. But the SC ruled that it belongs to UP.
However, the camp of Mallari and Chin insisted that the ruling on the Cañero claim has completely nothing to do with their case “simply because those are two different cases covering different titles (and) areas,” said Anave.
He said the second division of the SC is set to rule on their petition seeking to elevate the case for decision by all the members of the court during session today.