Friday, February 26, 2010

Villar, wife, firms sued for plunder, land grab: OMBUDSMAN CASE FILED OVER C5 EXTENSION PROJECT


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The first court case involving plunder and land grabbing against Nacionalista Party (NP) standard bearer Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. over alleged personal gains he made from the C5 road extension project was filed with the Ombudsman last Feb. 2 by businesswoman and civic leader Mary Lou Bhalwart-Estrada.

The controversial project was the subject of a Senate peer investigation on Villar that resulted in a Senate committee of the whole (Scow) report released last Jan. 18, finding Villar guilty of unethical conduct and ordered him to reimburse the government more than P6 billion which was the supposed amount of his and his companies’ improper gains from the project.

The Ombudsman case also included Villar’s wife, Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar, and their two sons, Manuel Paolo and Mark, and Villar’s real estate companies Britanny Corp., Adelfa Properties Inc. and Masaito Development Corp.

Estrada, president and CEO of Rhema International Livelihood Foundation Inc. (Rhema), has accused Villar and the others of alleged property-transgression in the C5 extension road project docketed under Reference No. C-10-0176 dated Feb. 2.

Estrada’s spokesman Jonathan Navea, chairman of Damayan Alliance for Social Justice, said the plunder and landgrabbing case stemmed from the C5’s Las Piñas-Parañaque road extension project that passed through properties Estrada said she owns through Rhema Livelihood Foundation Inc.

“The compensation of the transgressed properties and the right of way (RoW) went to Villar instead of Estrada, the real owner,” Navea said.

Navea said the property that was seized from her cost almost P200 million in real estate value. Estrada said proof of her ownership over the property was the Deed of Donation originated from TCT Land Title no. 8037 with Segregated Plan No. 25211 owned by a certain Fortunato Santiago, which was then occupied by Rhema’s beneficiaries.

Estrada also accused Villar of alleged landgrabbing when a group of armed men forced themselves with a bulldozer bragging in vernacular: “tauhan kami ni Villar” (we are men of Villar) when they were accosted during the property seizure late last year.

Estrada alleged that Villar’s men threatened Rhema’s guards who questioned their forcible entry, demanding the guards and tenants: “alis na kayo dyan, walang tututol baka malagot pa kayo! Utos ito ni Senator Villar at wala kayong magagawa.” (Leave this place, nobody protests or you’re in trouble, we are under orders from Sen. Villar).

The Senate inquiry on the C5 extension project stemmed from revelations made in the Senate by Sen. Jamby Madrigal.

Similar landgrabbing incidents were further provided by the Senate Records through its Senate Reports containing data on the other Villar’s alleged landgrabbing activities violating Sections 12 and 14, Article VI of the Philippine Constitution.

Estrada said Rhema is a business and livelihood opportunity company benefitting countless less privileged Filipino families nationwide.

“Rhema’s vision includes: zero poverty, financial independence and community development,” she said.

The case filed by Estrada quoted extensively from the Scow report, including a portion that stated Villar, his family and corporations received unjustly and illegally the compensation of P158 million and unashamedly claimed a balance of unpaid Road Right of Way of P59 million as of November, 2007.

“(Villar), his wife, sons and corporations have no valid torrens titles for the lots submitted for compensations. The titles (TCTs) are nothing but spurious and/or mere patent, the only true owner is the holder of a valid torrens title with OCT, judicial decree, and approved,” according to the suit.

That being in the realty business, both Senator Villar and his wife and sons know too well what a valid torrens title is and yet knowingly and fraudulently the Villar family and their corporations took the law for granted and maliciously and greedily claimed and had themselves paid compensations for what belongs to Rhema International Livelihood Foundation Inc. by virtue of a deed of donation, according to the complaint.

Estrada is not in any way related to former President Joseph Estrada, as his real name is Joseph Ejercito, and used the name Estrada for the movies in which he had starred.

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