THE Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has exposed a “web of corruption” involving fake land titles that have deprived the government of billions of pesos in revenue and victimized legitimate businesses.
Committee chairman Senator Richard Gordon at a committee hearing Wednesday, said these titles, in turn, had been offered to government for its right-of-way acquisitions.
Gordon disclosed that in General Santos alone, 167 folders of road right-of-way claims” have been unearthed amounting to P5.6 billion.”
“This is a whole syndicate involving the Department of Public Works and Highways, the registers of deeds that go all the way up,” Gordon said, adding he would file plunder cases against government officials involved in these massive corruption.
In a hearing attended by representatives of government agencies, Gordon called on all sectors with a claim against false titles coming out from the Land Registration Authority “to come to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee—and we will investigate such anomalies.”
Gordon castigated the LRA, saying: “What will we do now with LRA? It is fooling everyone in the countlry, and destroying the integrity of land titles?”
He added he would ask President Rodrigo Duterte to overhaul the entire LRA for its failure to protect the integrity of land titles.
He cited the anomalous case of a land title which only covers 90 square meters but was passed off as a 25,000 sq. m. property—and made the government pay for it.
He scolded the DPWH, saying: “What is the DPWH doing; aren’t you checking the facts from the Register of Deeds?”
He was incensed upon hearing the testimony of lawyer Ma. Theresa Pescadera, General Santos City Register of Deeds, who testified that her office certified the land titles referred to “are not true.”
Gordon trained his guns on an 8,000 sq. m. piece of land which was misrepresented as a 27,713 sq. m. piece of land, and government paid for it in cash at a whopping P255.55 million.
“It is a web of corruption involving LRA that manufactures fake titles in their computers, involving DPWH on the ground that doesn’t even bother to check the size of the land for right of way,” he declared.
He added: “This is not right-of-way —this is the wrong way.”
Earlier, Gordon said the Committee was close “to unmasking those behind the scam that has been defrauding the government of billions of pesos in false and illegal ROW payments.”