SC asks gov’t to comment on petition to void Manila Bay property sale

MANILA The Supreme Court (SC) ordered the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA), the Commission on Audit, the Register of Deeds for ParaAaque City, the Light Railway Transit Authority and Manila Bay Development Corp. (MBDC) to file a comment on the petition filed by a partylist solon seeking the reconveyance of 44 hectares of reclaimed lot in the Manila Bay area in ParaAaque City, where the Entertainment City stands on, that was allegedly illegally sold to private firm MBDC 30 years ago.

In a resolution promulgated last June 29 but received by the parties only recently, the High Court directed the respondents to submit their comments to the petition filed by 1-SAGIP partylist Rep. Rodante Marcoleta last April that sought to void the sale of the property that is now worth about PHP60 billion.

The order was directed to the respondents, who were given 10 days from receipt of notice, to comply with the directive.

In April, Marcoleta filed a petition for prohibition and mandamus before the High Court seeking to void the sale of 44 hectares of land by PRA (then known as Public Estates Authority) to MBDC, a company belonging to banker Jack Ng.

The petition said the sale contravenes the constitutional prohibition that no land of the public domain may be sold to a corporation.

He pointed out that the subject 44 hectares of reclaimed lands were clearly lands of the public domain.

Per BIR zonal valuation, the property is now worth roughly PHP60 billion.

Through a 10-page Urgent Manifestation with motion filed recently, Marcoleta told the high tribunal that he had also discovered that no original certificate of title was actually issued by the ParaAaque Register of Deeds covering the said 44 hectares.

He explained that the 44-hectare property that was sold by PEA to MBDC formed part of a 190-hectare property that is covered by an illegal title issued by the Register of Deeds of ParaAaque.

Citing the letter dated June 4, 2018 sent to him by ParaAaque Register of Deeds Raymond Ramos, Marcoleta said that the said title appears to refer to a Special Patent signed by then President Corazon Aquino that covers the said 190 hectares of reclaimed land.

The phrase certificate of title no. 1 appears to have been superimposed on the top portion of the Special Patent, Marcoleta said,

He stressed said that under the rules and regulations of the Land Registration Authority, Judicial Form No. 45 should have been used to issue an original certificate of title covering the said 190 hectares.

Under Special Patent No. 3517 that was issued on 19 January 1988, the national government conveyed and transferred to the then Public Estates Authority the said 190 hectares of reclaimed lands, as part of the Manila-Cavite Coastal Road and Reclamation Project.

Marcoleta likewise reiterated his request that the Supreme Court immediately issue a TRO against the possible conveyance or transfer of said 44 hectares to third parties as the titles covering the same were derived from Certificate of Title No. 1 that was in turn illegally issued.

Clearly, the 44 hectares in question are reclaimed lands and are part of the lands of public domain, Marcoleta added.

Marcoleta, who filed the suit as a member of the House committee on good government and public accountability and as a taxpayer, cited Section 2, Article XII of the Charter, which requires all lands of public domain to remain state owned and not to be alienated unless classified and declared otherwise by the government.

The subject property, which stands on Roxas Blvd. and known as Central Business Park II, was sold to MBDC in August 1988 for PHP472,037,050. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency