Sen. Pimentel files bill vs land-grabbing
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Friday resurrected a measure earlier filed by his former senator father and namesake, which would establish a land title insurance system to protect owners from alleged land-grabbers like Wilfredo Torres.
“The flawed land titling system has been taken advantage of by criminal syndicates preying on innocent purchasers of real estate,” said Pimentel who had earlier filed a resolution asking the Senate justice committee to conduct an inquiry into the Torens Title system governing land titling in the country.
The elder Pimentel’s bill had actually been refiled in August 2010 by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago who sought to combat the “modus operandi of syndicates specializing in fraudulent registration and titling of land.”
Santiago’s Senate Bill No. 2432 seeks to amend the Philippine insurance code to include a land title insurance system to protect “the insured against title defects, forgery, falsification, double-titling and similar unlawful acts that affect title to, or the use of real property.”
In her bill’s explanatory note, Santiago cited a previous Senate blue ribbon committee investigation which concluded that the country’s entire system of “registration and titling of land is institutionally and intrinsically flawed.”
“The syndicates, in cahoots with some government agencies, engage in this revolting scheme,” she said.
“This could be traced, among other things, from the fact that the records’ management of the Land Registration Authority is seriously defective in that some people there had allowed the switching or tampering of important land documents, including land titles,” she said.
Under Santiago’s bill, land title owners who would avail of the insurance policy would pay a premium risk, the guidelines on which would come from the insurance commission.
Before an insurance policy is issued, the insurer will be required to conduct a “reasonable search and examination of the title and of such other information as may be necessary.”
The insurance company will then keep these pieces of information for at least 10 years after the “title insurance binder, commitment, title insurance policy, or guarantee of title was issued,” according to the Santiago bill.
“Establishing a land title insurance system will protect the land titles of owners of real property, in the same way that one procures insurance of his property against fire, earthquakes and other calamities,” Pimentel said.
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