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9 DENR officials probed for faking Boracay land titles

03/13/2012 [ tribune.net.ph ]

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Central Office is investigating nine regional and field officials from their branch office in the Western Visayas Region who allegedly issued thirty-one fake land titles in Boracay.

The erring officials, who were not named yet, are the subject of an administrative complaint for grave misconduct.

The respondents were cross-examined by a probe team chaired by DENR Undersecretary for Field Operations lawyer Ernesto Adobo Jr. in a hearing in the pool side of West Town Hotel, Iloilo City from Feb. 29 to March 2, 2012.

Another set of hearings will be held this month pending the selection of the venue, DENR Regional Executive Dir. Julian Amador said.

Amador disclosed that of the 31 land titles, 21 were first deemed spurious and subject to cancellation by the Land Registration Authority.

But when the case was elevated to the DENR Central Office, he said it decided that all the land titles will be examined, resulting in the marathon hearing.

During the term of then President Joseph Estrada, 97 Boracay land titles were also questioned by the DENR in 1999.

The questionable land titles were found to be classified as “forest land” and thus could not be distributed or converted into an “alienable and disposable area.”

But some private individuals or entities have claimed parcels as privately owned or even titled in their names.

The continued review of the authenticity of the land titles here was in consonance to the directive of President Aquino to pursue cases against big-time syndicates to attain a corrupt-free government.

Other members of the investigation panel include Land Management Bureau OIC-Director Ralph Pablo, Legal Division OIC-Chief lawyer Emelyne Talabis, DENR union president Atty. Camilo Garcia, and Personnel Investigation Division OIC-Chief Norlito Eneran. PNA
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