DENR files complaint vs IFMA 21 claimants

The amended complaint, filed on November 6 last year, asked the court to order the claimants to desist from "exercising acts of ownership over the subject land and to vacate the same if in possession."

As per court records, the alleged claimants were identified as Pedro de Ramos, heirs of Excelsa Lauron, Ralderico Confesor, Julita Confessor and the heirs of Romeo Confessor.

The government likewise sought for the declaration of several Sales Patents and six Original Certificates of Title (OCTs) as null and void, arguing that these were fakes.

It can be recalled that the claimants filed a petition for the issuance of certificate of ancestral domain claim (CADC) in 2001 over the 899-hectare property currently occupied by Aldevinco through Industrial Forest Plantation Management Agreement No. 21 (IFMA 21).

The petitioners, who are now subject of a government complaint through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), claimed their ancestors owned the property prior to the issuance of a pasture lease agreement to a certain Mateo Magno in 1953.
They also presented several titles as proofs of ownership of the disputed property.

Aldevinco, however, has been in possession of the land since 1964 when it was first granted a pasture lease agreement (PLA).

The company filed an opposition to the application for the issuance of CADC of Confesor et al.
In 2006, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) ordered an investigation to look into the claims of the applicants and to verify the status of the disputed property.

In February 2007, the legal affairs of NCIP recommended the denial of the petition by Confesor and company on the grounds that their claims were without basis.

In December last year, the NCIP, sitting en banc, upheld the findings of its legal affairs investigator Arthur Herman and adopted the latter's recommendation en toto.

The recommendations included the permanent suspension of the proceedings for the issuance of CADC.

In the amended government complaint filed against the petitioners late last year, the Register of Deeds of General Santos was also asked to surrender the alleged owner's duplicate of OCT Nos. P-938, P-940, P-941, P-942 and (P-144) P-2252. The complaint alleged that it was the Register of Deeds of General Santos which issued the disputed titles.

Part of the earlier NCIP findings revealed that PSU-120055, which supposedly covered the Aldevinco-occupied property, is actually situated in San Pablo City in Laguna. (Edwin G. Espejo / MindaNews contributor)

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