NBI nabs 5 people for selling gov’t property on Boracay Island
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has arrested five people involved in selling inalienable land – that is, government property – on Boracay Island.
Inalienable lands are unclassified lands of the government. Before they can be disposed for agricultural or other purposes, there has to be a positive act on the part of the government declassifying a particular land.
At a press conference Wednesday, the NBI’s Anti-Organized and Transnational Crime Division (NBI-AOTCD) identified the suspects as Gina Talapian, Lorelei Tarrosa, Jacqueline Anne Yao, Jason Lacson and Chuanlin Yang. They were arrested in an entrapment operation inside a hotel in Pasay City last Tuesday.
The operation stemmed from a complaint by a “hotel and entertainment corporation” with the NBI that the group had been selling 7,988 square meters of land in Barangay Balabag, Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan.
The supposed transaction started on June 2016 when Tarrosa and Talapian represented themselves as the heirs of Libertad Yap-Talapian with authority to dispose of the property.
Believing the claims of the two, the complainant agreed to buy the property. But because of some issues with the estate tax, the company purchased the property on installment.
Then, on March, 2017, the corporation verified with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 4 the status of the land. According to the DENR, the property is forest land and cannot be disposed of.
In August last year, a representative of the corporation went to the office of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) and was told that the land in question was declared as forest land by virtue of Proclamation No. 1064 and as such is inalienable.
Then the corporation discontinued its payments to the suspects. But it had already paid a total of P38.5 million.
The suspects then demanded payment of the remaining installments, but the corporation insisted on a return of their payments.
The parties agreed to meet and settle at a hotel in Pasay City where the NBI had set up an entrapment operation.
The suspects are facing a complaint for syndicated estafa under Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to Presidential Decree 1689 (Increasing the Penalty for certain Forms of Swindling or Estafa). /atm
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