Congressmen are illegal settlers no more after the National Housing Authority finally awarded Wednesday the land title of the Batasang Pambansa Complex to the House of Representatives.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. said the House – at no cost – is now the legal owner of the Batasan Complex after more than 35 years.
“We’re no longer informal settlers here. I just hope the title you’ll give us is not fake,” Belmonte told NHA general manager Chito Cruz in jest after signing a memorandum of agreement which signals start of the land titling process.
Belmonte said said it would take about six months to finish the surveying, partitioning and titling of the land.
The construction of the Batasan buildings inside the 19-hectare (189,910 square meter) property in Quezon City was completed in 1978 and that the ownership of the land remained with the NHA.
With a land title, Belmonte said the House finally has vested rights over the property which is protected by the law.
“For me, as long as we don’t hold the title, even if we’re a very powerful branch of government, legally speaking we can be subject to those changes. Under the Constitution, with the title, we have vested rights that cannot be altered by any president or any other authority,” Belmonte said.
For his part, Cruz said the NHA decided to turn over the land to the House during a board meeting in February.
“With the NHA finally has turned over the land title, we can now say that that the Batasan Complex is no more an informal settler,” Cruz said.