Owners of unfenced vacant lots, beware

GOTCHA - Jarius Bondoc -

The Food and Drug Administration has been busy lately going after boticas that sell to senior citizens who do not have purchase booklets. Critics say it is remiss in its bigger duty — that of testing the efficacy of formulations and the safety of imported medicines. The latter job is made more salient by reports that hundreds died or were taken ill in Pakistan after taking a cardiovascular drug. Pakistan is a source of cheap formulations.

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Yet another reader, this time in Quezon City, is denouncing one Mary Lou Bhalwart-Estrada in a land grabbing. Victim Aurora H. Bumatay says that bolo-wielding squatters have been obstructing the fencing off of her residential lot in Loyola Grand Villas-Phase 3. Backed by the barangay captain, the armed men are claiming rights to her lot by virtue of a land title in the name of Bhalwart-Estrada.

This is the third time readers have mentioned Bhalwart-Estrada in fighting off professional squatters. In 2010 two others narrated how land-grabbing syndicates suddenly showed up to contest their families’ ownership of prime lots in Parañaque and Manila. This column has long been exposing land rackets.

In the Quezon City case, Bumatay and her husband bought the 500-sqm lot from developer VV Soliven in 1994. The subdivision was mostly trees and shrubs back then; many houses have been erected since. The squatters are now claiming that Bhalwart-Estrada had inherited the land, along with other lots in Loyola Grand Villas, from her father Alfred Krupp-Bhalwart. Krupp-Bhalwart allegedly had purchased the land from one Gonzalo Yaneza y Rodriguez. Bhalwart Estrada supposedly has donated the land to Rhema International Livelihood Development Foundation Inc., of which she is president. The squatters claim to be caretakers of Rhema.

Rhema Inc. was described in news reports in 2010 as engaged in microfinance. Bhalwart-Estrada was called a businesswoman-civic leader. During the presidential campaign that year, Bhalwart-Estrada sued contender Sen. Manuel Villar and wife Rep. Cynthia Villar for land-grabbing. Purportedly two subdivisions that Villar’s real estate firms developed and sold in Parañaque-Las Piñas were actually her land, also inherited from the father. She also had doled her inheritance to Rhema. The previous year Malacañang ordered a crackdown on land grabbers masquerading as urban-poor NGOs.

Same in the Manila case, Bhalwart-Estrada claimed in late 2010 that the land was hers, also inherited from her father. The father supposedly had bought it from Fortunato Santiago, who in turn had acquired it from Antonio Rodriguez. Again Bhalwart-Estrada donated the land to Rhema.

The Land Registration Authority is presently computerizing all land titles nationwide. The process has been delayed several times.

Bumatay’s woes in Loyola Grand Villas began in 2003. To repel squatter encroachment, the Loyola homeowners association fenced off the subdivision. By mistake, only half of Bumatay’s lot was included in the fencing. The other half became part of Barangay Pansol.

More than twice Bumatay attempted to fully fence off her property. But the barangay chief and bolo-wielders forced her masons to stop. They dismissed as fake her lot title and fencing permit from City Hall.

Owners of vacant lots had better fence them off and visit regularly.

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The “term sharing” that impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona is talking about doesn’t make sense. Supposedly Sen. Teofisto Guingona III demanded of him, in behalf of President Noynoy Aquino, to give way to Antonio T. Carpio. Guingona vehemently has denied the claim; Aquino’s spokesman has challenged Corona to testify about it under oath in his trial.

For the alleged term sharing to work, if at all legal, Corona must hand over the Chief Justiceship at once to Carpio. This is to give way for Aquino’s reforms during and beyond his presidency that ends on June 30, 2016.

And then what? Will Carpio, who is set to retire at age 70 on Oct. 26, 2019, return the post to Corona? And will Corona retake the post till he retires ahead on Oct. 15, 2018? But who will ensure Corona’s reappointment — Aquino, before stepping down in 2016? Malabo!

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Adding to my piece last Wednesday, readers report other good roads being torn up by the DPWH for “repairs”:

• John Velasco: “Include Reposo Street, Sta. Mesa, Manila, in the list. Residents are left clueless about the completion date. The DPWH website posted on Mar. 2 that ‘repair’ will be done Mar. 2-5. Then, it stated on Mar. 8 that works would be on Mar. 9-12. But as of Mar. 14 it was not even half finished. I called the DPWH; it said it’s not ‘repair’ after all but concreting, to be done in 60 days, from Feb. 13, when works actually began on the night of Mar. 2.”

• Titus Velez: “Sayre Highway, Cagayan de Oro to Malaybalay, Bukidnon, also being ‘repaired,’ prolonging travel time to six hours from previous two. The one in Misamis Oriental has been ‘repaired’ again, although it was in good condition. What it needed was widening.”

• Mel G.: “There’s plenty more along Governor’s Drive in General Mariano Alvarez and Dasmariñas, Cavite, and on Paliparan Road. They’re fixing what ain’t broke.”

• Danny Valdez: “It was slier in Taguig. They asphalted the Laguna Lake dike, then allowed heavy trucks to pass through. Naturally the asphalt dissolved with the rains. Now someone will benefit again from the ‘repair.’”

• Rene Barona: “I remember you writing last year that the tearing up of good concrete roads is to get free filling materials for the foundations of high-rises. Grrr!”

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Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8-10 a.m., DWIZ (882-AM).

E-mail: [email protected]

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