Baguio land scam suspects fall
Ten people believed to be members of several syndicates engaged in the sale and mortgage of fake land titles in Baguio City and provinces near it were arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation in separate operations recently, according to NBI regional director Romulo Asis.
Asis said the group had already earned an undetermined amount from the scam and the number of complainants against the suspects had grown.
He warned land buyers to check with the proper government authority first before paying sellers.
He said land titles used by the suspects appeared to be in order but further scrutiny and check with the Registry of Deeds revealed that the documents were spurious.
Asis said the group’s modus operandi is to use as collateral the spurious documents for business loans then default on payments.
First to fall in February, Asis said, was a certain Buddy Wong Milanes who sold a lot with fake title to a Stephen Galera.
On March 10, 2015, another group was arrested. Members of the group included suspects who were identified as Evelyn Alberto, Krista Maliones, Karel Jane Abaya Ruben Salming, Josephine Dangpa and Harly Balag-ey also known as Magdalena Cayetano.
They were arrested at the office of a notary public on Session Road in Baguio City.
The NBI said Alberto and Balag-ey took out a P1 million loan from another victim and used as collateral several transfer certificate titles (TCTs) of separate lands in the province of Benguet. The TCTs turned out to be fake.
Asis said the NBI has yet to determine if the arrested suspects belonged to a single group.
The NBI official said that one of the suspect’s modus operandi was to convince the victims to agree to enter into mortgage contracts for lands that have spurious documents.
Asis also said the fake land title syndicate uses the Internet to sell land using falsified documents.
He said that on March 4, 2015, an Adrian B. Padilla was arrested for selling a lot in Baguio City using falsified public documents.
The complainant, Glennylene F. Romero, claimed she responded to an advertisement at the website www.olx.ph, selling a 300-square-meter lot in Guisad, Baguio City, for P1.5 million.
The victim said she met with the suspects—Jose Tejada, Adrian Padilla and Marilou Padilla, who had already collected the down payment for the deal—and was supposed to pay a second installment for the lot when she decided to check with the Register of Deeds that declared the documents that the suspects gave her as fake.
Asis said the suspects were separately charged with estafa and falsification of public documents at the Baguio City prosecutor’s office.
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