Alleged syndicate leader Wilfredo Torres facing 3 cases–Vice President Binay
The alleged ringleader of a big-time land grabbing syndicate, Wilfredo Torres, is facing at least three criminal cases before Quezon City and Caloocan City courts, based on information released by the Office of the Vice President (OVP).
Joey Salgado, OVP spokesperson, said all the cases filed against Torres were in relation to falsification of documents charges for using fake transfer certificates of title.
Salgado said multiple violations of Article 172 in relation to Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code were now being heard before the Metropolitan Trial Court in Quezon City. The last hearing was on Aug. 15.
The next hearing on the case is scheduled for Feb. 13, 2012, Salgado said.
Another case is pending before Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch (QC-RTC) 100 where Torres is charged with multiple violations of Article 315, estafa and fraud under the Revised Penal Code.
While the case filed by Teodoro Kalaw Jr. against Torres before QC-RTC Branch 79 has been archived, Salgado said the court had declared Torres’ titles fake and ordered their cancellation.
Salgado also said that a certain Dalisay Querjero, a known associate of Torres, is facing malicious mischief charges before Caloocan City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 53.
Another hearing on the Querjero case is scheduled on Sept. 27.
Salgado said that Vice President Jejomar Binay, in his capacity as chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), had ordered the Philippine National Police Task Force on Professional Squatters and Squatting Syndicates to update the status of the case and also give its recommendation on the course of action against professional squatters.
Torres, who tops the list of the PNP task force, had recently claimed ownership of a 24–hectare prime property in Quezon City and threatened with eviction residents and occupants of the area after a Quezon City court awarded him ownership of the property. Several subdivisions, a school, a seminary and several business establishments occupy the property.
As this developed, Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing on Saturday said his proposed bill seeking to amend the antisquatting law would keep Torres in jail.
Bagatsing, former vice chair of HUDCC, said House Bill No. 4656, or the Anti-Professional Squatters and Squatting Racketeers or Syndicates Drive Reforms Act, was recently passed on third and final reading by the House of Representatives.
The bill seeks to impose stiffer penalties on squatting racketeers by making the offense punishable by reclusion perpetua (imprisonment of a minimum of 30 years) and making it nonbailable and a form of economic sabotage.
The bill has been transmitted to the Senate for adoption and approval.
“That was really meant for him so that he will qualify under that definition,” Bagatsing told the Inquirer, referring to Torres.
Bagatsing pointed out that Torres was only released on a conditional pardon granted by former President Ferdinand Marcos. With a report from Cynthia D. Balana
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