‘Forcible takeover’ of prime land in QC ‘based on not-yet-final SC ruling’ assailed

Published October 26, 2021, 10:08 AM

by Rey Panaligan 

Supreme Court

The alleged reliance by a land developer on a “not yet final” Supreme Court (SC) decision — which remanded the case to the trial court for further proceedings on issues of tax payments, possession, writ of execution and service of summons — was assailed in the “forcible takeover” of a seven-hectare prime land in Quezon City.

Involved in the land dispute are the Titan Dragon Properties Corporation and Marlina Veloso Galenzoga who was alleged to be in possession of the property before the reported illegal takeover.

The SC decision, promulgated last April 28, and made public last July 25, granted the petition of Titan Dragon against the rulings issued by the Court of Appeals (CA) in 2018 and 2019.

The dispositive portion of the SC decision stated:

“WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The Decision dated 01 June 2018 rendered by the Court of Appeals, Division of Five, and Resolution dated 26 February 2019 rendered by the Court of Appeals, Special Division of Five, Special Former Third Division, in CA-G.R. SP No. 150941 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE.

“Accordingly, the Decision dated 21 October 2016 of Branch 95, Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, as well as all issuances rendered pursuant thereto, are declared NULL and VOID. The case is hereby REMANDED to Branch 95, Regional Trial Court of Quezon City for further proceedings.

“The presiding judge of the said court is mandated to issue anew the required summons to petitioner corporation (Titan Dragon) and proceed with the trial of the case with dispatch. SO ORDERED.”

A check with the SC showed that the decision has not attained finality because Galenzoga had filed a motion for reconsideration which is still pending resolution.

In a letter-complaint filed before the Philippine National Police (PNP) Galenzoga’s lawyer Ronald A. Ledesma said: “The afore-cited Assailed Decision (of the SC) is not final. Our client filed a Motion for Reconsideration electronically last August 27, 2021. Hence, the foregoing case remains pending.”

Ledesma said that “the Assailed Decision cannot therefore be argued as basis for the forcible takeover of our client’s property as it is not final nor executory and worse does not award possession of the New Manila Property to Titan.”

Efforts of Manila Bulletin to contact Titan Dragon proved futile. It was not known immediately if Galenzoga has regained possession of the property.

Ledesma told the PNP that in early morning last Sept. 9, “several uniformed ‘policemen’ appeared at the New Manila property and asked our client’s security detail to be allowed entrance.”

He said “the New Manila Property is walled and fenced off and so these ‘policemen’ could not get in easily without the cooperation of our client’s security detail.”

“Said ‘policemen’ explained to our client’s guards that allegedly they needed to be given entrance into the New Manila property because they were in pursuit of a criminal who allegedly entered said property,” he said.

When “our client’s security guards refused to give them entrance, these ‘policemen’ threatened that they will open fire on the guards.”

“In deference to the ‘policemen’ and to avoid an unnecessary firefight, our client’s security guards agreed to allow two (2) of these ‘policemen’ to enter the property and conduct a search,” he said.

However, “to the surprise of our client’s security guards, the ‘policemen’ (numbering almost 50) with the assistance and cooperation of a private security group (numbering also almost 50) … instead barged into the premises and at gunpoint and with threats to kill any who opposed them forcibly took over the New Manila property,” Ledesma told the PNP.

“These ‘policemen’ at gunpoint forcibly disarmed our client’s security guards, forced them to lie on the floor face down, and like common robbers took their cellphones, wallets, issued handheld radios and firearms,” he said.

“The ‘police officers’ who wore SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) uniforms turned out that they merely impersonated police officers and were actually security guards of King James Security Agency and JKKK Security Agency,” he said.

He also said: “Two of the guards, who introduced themselves as retired policemen were stomped on their faces. Also, these same ‘policemen’ at gunpoint and with threats to kill, forcibly evicted our client’s security from the New Manila property.”

“Thereafter, without any legal justification or court order or other legal authority, said ‘policemen’ installed King James Security Agency and JKKK Security Agency (the private security groups accompanying them) in possession of the New Manila property. Our client’s security guards were forced out into the street upon constant threat that the ‘policemen’ will kill them and their belongings were likewise brought out of the New Manila Property,” he said.

“Two huge signs were erected by the King James Security Guards and JKKK Security Agency and placed at the gate and wall fronting the 14th street that said ‘THIS PROPERTY IS OWNED BY TITAN DRAGON…,’” he added.

Ledesma told the PNP that “during the conduct of a post-to-post inspection by PNP-SOSIA (Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies) pursuant to a complaint filed by our client’s security guards, SOSIA was able to confiscate several assorted loose firearms in the possession of the intruding guards….”

He also said: “Clearly the foregoing illegal and violent takeover of the said property was done by Titan, King James Security Agency, JKKK Security Agency and still unidentified ‘police elements’ even despite the absence of any lawful order or authority awarding possession of subject property to Titan. Titan … has obviously taken the law into its own hands and is using the Assailed Decision (SC decision) as justification and judicial mandate for its illegal actions.”

Last Oct. 16, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Gen. Vicente C. Danao ordered an operation after receiving reports that “armed goons” were inside the disputed property, he said.

Twenty-three “goons” were arrested by the NCRPO and criminal charges are being prepared against them, he added.

“This NCRPO operation shows the decisiveness of General Vicente C. Danao to enforce the law by arresting the offenders, bringing them to justice, and helping in their prosecution,” Galenzoga said through her lawyer.