COA junks P806 M rental claim for private lot occupied by DILG-ARMM

Published November 16, 2018, 3:42 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Ben Rosario

The Commission on Audit has upheld the decision of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to deny payment of some P806.3 million in alleged back rentals for a property it has been occupying for over 40 years now.

MB FILE—Commission on Audit.
Commission on Audit

In a decision released recently, the three-man COA Commission Proper dismissed the Petition for Money Claim filed by Jaafar Saidil Jalalia for lack of merit, saying that the petitioner had failed to clearly establish his claim to the disputed property.

COA records showed that Jalalia had claimed ownership of a the 173,954 square lot in Panglima Estimo, Sulu which is currently being occupied by the local government for its town hall since 1976.

In his petition, Jalilia said the Department of Interior and Local Government-ARMM owes him some P806.3 million in back rentals for its use of the land which he claimed to be owned by a certain Jalalia, who was the uncle of his mother, Saragiya Saidil.

Since Saidil is the sole legal heir of Jalalia, the petitioner said he was assigned by his mother to be the administrator of the property, thus, has the right to claim back rentals from the DILG-ARMM which has occupied the land.

“Petitioner avers that he is the son of Saragiya D. Saidil, the reconstituted land owner of Lot No. 205 which was used by the municipality of Panglima Estino, Sulu and that he is claiming the amount of P806,308,800 as back rentals,” COA disclosed.

Answering the petition, ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman sought for dismissal for lack of merit.

Hataman said the petition is “procedurally defected as it presents a justifiable controversy” that is best left for the courts to address.

He also stressed that the petitioner has not established any “clear right to the money claim” because neither he nor his mother was able to show any right or title to Lot No. 205. Further, there remains no final money judgment to uphold Saidil’s claim.

The COA Commission Proper found Hataman’s opposition meritorious and dismissed the petition. The audit body noted that the petitioner failed to address the mandatory requirement of complete documentation before government funds must be released.

“Moreover, the petitioner’s claim is merely based on his assertion that he is the son of the reconstituted owner of Lot No. 205 which was allegedly used by the municipality of Panglima Estino, Sulu since 1976.

“Evidently his claim is not clearly established,” COA said.