What transpired in Norzagaray

Feb. 23, 2010

Norzagaray is a small town in the northeastern fringes of Bulacan, in the foothills of the Sierra Madre. It is bounded on the north by the town of Angat, and to its south is San Jose del Monte City, now a bustling center where once the squatters ejected from Intramuros resided. The foothills of the Sierra Madre where the provinces of Rizal, Quezon and Bulacan straddle are ancestral home to the Dumagats, indigenous Filipinos who used to subsist on hunting and slash-and-burn farming, otherwise called kaingin. But because of population explosion and its proximity to Quezon City, Norzagaray lands have become a bit more valuable. It certainly would make a good venue for low-cost housing.

Last Thursday, some 47 farmers, some of them still pure Dumagats, others of inter-married stock, trooped to a small restaurant at the vicinity of Quezon City Hall, and were met by a few reporters who listened to their story. They were accompanied by a lawyer and a spokesperson, a certain Mrs. Tecson, who showed documents to prove their case.

This is their story:

They have cultivated some 480 hectares of land in Norzagaray since the late fifties. Some of them, the Dumagats particularly, had forebears who were there since the times when the fair-skinned invaded these islands.

In 1960, they went to the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources and applied for free patent to the lands they had continuously been in possession of. In 1964, in the reign of Diosdado Macapagal, they or their parents were awarded, under Original Certificates of Title (or OCT. Note the word “original”) No. P-858 Free Patent No. 257917, dated April 27, 1964, by the Bulacan Register of Deeds.

Then, in March of 1987, a fire gutted the office of the Registry of Deeds in Malolos, burning all copies of OCT’s in their vault, necessitating TCT reconstitution proceedings. (Sometime back, the same thing happened in Quezon City, creating consternation when fake titles started sprouting, and a slew of contested property conflicts arose). Being poor and un-sophisticated, the farmers did not at the time file for title reconstitution.

Meanwhile, on April 24, 1998, Mrs. Cynthia A. Villar, as president of Capitol Development Bank, and Anacordita H. Magno, its first vice-president, signed a promissory note in favor of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for 1.168 billion and another for 332 million, for a total of 1.5 billion pesos, payable after 180 days, or due and payable on October 21, 1998. At the time the emergency loan of Capitol became payable, Manuel B. Villar had risen from a third-term congressman to Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, Capitol Development Bank was closed and its assets as well as liabilities were transferred by the Villars to Optimum Development Bank, with a certain Arturo P. de los Santos as its executive vice-president. In June of 2001, Optimum through De los Santos signed a deed of real estate mortgage over the Norzagaray lands in favor of BSP. He once more co-signed for Manila Brickworks, Inc., which was identified as the owner of the lands. Both Manila Brickworks and Capitol Bank, later Optimum Development Bank, were/are owned by the Villars.

To cut a long story short, BSP took possession of the titles mortgaged by Capitol/Optimum and Manila Brickworks because the Villars failed to pay their 1.5 billion loan. Clearly, as we will later discover, the BSP took the titles surrendered to them at face value, little noticing the provenance of its TCTs.

And the Malolos Registry of Deeds forthwith transferred the Norzagaray land titles in favour of Bangko Sentral. Such that when the farmers who held titles over land given to them by the Republic in 1964 filed for reconstitution in 2004, they were told that the same lands had already been transferred to the BSP!

Upon investigation by the Registry of Deeds and subsequently the DENR, which succeeded the divided Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) in the disposition and supervision over all public lands, it was discovered that the BSP-foreclosed titles surrendered by the Villar bank and corporation emanated from OCT No. 287 dated 25 July 1944. This was issued under a sales patent which derived its existence from Sec.122 of Act 496 of the Land Registration Act of the US Government. However during July 1944, the country was under Japanese occupation and hence there was no valid title issued under the said Act and therefore the said “Original” certificate of title is clearly a FAKE and all transfer certificate of titles arising from the said FAKE title are null and void.

In fine, what the Villars, through Capitol/Optimum Bank and Manila Brickworks paid to the Bangko Sentral in partial settlement of their billion-peso loans, were FAKE titles! And aside form the BSP, which was clearly defrauded, victims now are the poor farmers of Norzagaray, who cannot have their titles reconstituted. If a farmer-family wants to obtain a loan so that they can send a son or daughter abroad to work as an OFW (Villar’s advertised beneficiaries of his generosity, for instance), they cannot do so, because the BSP also holds title to the same.

At one time, the farmers said, the Villar corporations sent security guards to drive them away from their land, but they resisted. This seems to be a pattern, as we shall see in other land disputes involving the Villars.

The farmers went from office to office, from the prosecutors office of Bulacan, as well as the DENR. They even went to the office of Senator Ping Lacson after they heard about the mysteries of the C-5 double appropriations. But Lacson’s Ethics Committee could not take cognizance of the letter-complaint of the farmers because then Sen. Pres. Manuel Villar was not yet a senator of the Republic at the time the complained offense was committed. He was yet a congressman, and later Speaker, and his wife Cynthia was not yet even a congresswoman at the time she signed the promissory notes to Bangko Sentral.

The farmers, through Gina S. Jarvina and Valentino Amador, et al, filed a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman on September 2008. Despite follow-ups, nothing has been heard from the Ombudsman.

Now the man who purveyed their lands to the Bangko Sentral as foreclosed property due to non-payment of a 1.5 billion peso loan contracted for by his wife Cynthia, is running for president of the Philippines. And the poor farmers whose ancestors have continuously lived and cultivated the paltry lands of Norzagaray are deathly afraid that if Villar becomes president and his wife Cynthia becomes First Lady, they would lose their lands and their homes altogether.

Kalaban na nila ang Bangko Sentral, the bank of all banks. Kalaban pa nila ang susunod na Pangulo ng Pilipinas?

The ProPinoy Project

  • ForFearICannotWriteMyName
  • ForFearICannotWriteMyName

    Here are some past issues about GILBERT REMULLA lest people forget . . .

    DENR TO PROBE REMULLA LANDS (http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2479&dat=20000210&id=24c1AAAAIBAJ&sjid=jyUMAAAAIBAJ&pg=2059,11464656)

    ( http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2479&dat=20000210&id=24c1AAAAIBAJ&sjid=jyUMAAAAIBAJ&pg=2059,11464656 )

  • ForFearICannotWriteMyName

    @Critic55 : The media and the organizations against TRAPOS should delve into some things that are subtle clues why certain people stick to Villar . Take for instance Gilbert Remulla. Isn’t it known that he comes fromm the family of land grabbers too? Cavite…Villar has projects in Cavite…MADAMING MADAMI! Check Villar’s CROWN ASIA projects .Check the REMULLA-OWNED ISLAND COVE…..

  • ForFearICannotWriteMyName

    A decade and perhaps 2-3 years ago, I was once a property consultant for Brittany Corporation;one of Villar’s companies among many others. Brittany Corporation sell Manny Villar’s high-end projects (Fontamara,Belle Rev,etc in Sta Rosa; Crosswinds in Tagaytay;Island Park in Cavite and many others) Back then, property consultants were pompously advised by team managers to HIGHLIGHT advices that came from the top officials of Brittany. These are the following advices that were seen by the management as assured selling points to would – be clients:

    1. Manny Villar will be running for the presidency, hence, knows the right people who will help him make his projects prime


    2. Properties WILL DEFINITELY have the RIGHT OF WAY since Manny Villar had secured all of these with the right people as CONTACTS and stationed in congress;well planned indeed. Team managers insinuated to even boast that not even AYALA PROPERTIES can get hold of these prime lands owing to the assurance coming from Manny Villar himself to the team managers that the right of way had been pre-secured already (specifically in Sta Rosa) that neither Yulo Properties nor Ayala Properties can ever secure.

    Little did I know that indeed, he was serious enough to run for the presidency, inching and MOST probaaly buying his way as he heads towards the top position in the land.

    C 5, etc, what other else? Maybe it is EVEN time that investigative journalists look over cemeteries that he also owns.

  • Paul Lino

    Am not for Villar, but is this true?? Shame on those who made this up, half truths are total lies………………

  • Dr. Gil Pellejo

    sI Villar walang pinatay si Noynoy 7 sa Luisita; Si Erap tanungin nyo na lg si Ping Lacson kung ilan pinatay nila….

  • Dr. Gil Pellejo

    Ngii tuta ni Erap ang sumulat di na nAHIYA SI eRAP DAMING corruption yun a. Sir Lito mahiya ka NAMAN…lOOK WHOSE TALKING…


    Si villar ay masahol pa sa regimen ni GMA, dahil nangaagaw siya ng lupa
    na hindi sa kanya,hayaan ninyo mga TRIBESMEN, dahil ang katulad niya
    ay bigyan ng malagim na pangyayari dahil siya ay masamang nilalang
    kaya pala naging bilyonaryo siya sa lahat senadors dahil yun pala ang
    negosyo niya? LANDGRABBER? KAWAWA MGA TRIBO, If I where you
    hwag ninyo hayaan tuluyan makuha ni villar dumulog kayo sa mga abugado na handang tumulong sa inyo o kaya sa mga MEDIAMEN kahit papaano matulungan kayo.I pray for your success and I know GOD is with you,remember walang masamang damo magtagal sa mundo katulad ng mga AMPATUAN. gOD

  • jvv

    they seem to be well orginzed and sufficientl funded. is there anyone at the back ulling their strings? don’t get me wrong, i’m no villar fan, but it still makes you wonder

  • Ahmad Fawad

    Granting Villar was not poor to be at coping-strategy during his early days, then should he not practiced corruption at least for two decades … how the hell he was able to acquired his wealth? I don’t believe he got a money-printing-machine.

    This issue is one of them … and many more on the highest level of corruption should he become the president of this corruption-tolerance system.

  • Yan ba ang klase ng taong pagkakatiwalaan ng Bansa? Baka buong Pilipinas isanla nya sa World Bank…Bka nasuhulan na rin ang mga supporters kaya sumusuporta sa kanya. Gugustuhin mo bang maging Presidente ang isang taong walang malasakit sa kapwa? Hindi yan makadiyos, Kaya pala billionaire ang tawag sa kanya…Bilyon pala talaga ang binayad sa loan…Kawawang mga farmers…Nakadale kayo ng Land Grabber to the highest level….!!!! Mas masahol pa sa inimpeach nya…!!!

  • jess carmona

    kahit ordinaryong abogado ay kaya silang tulungan. Kung mababasa nila ito kontakin nila ang number na ito. 09182431694, propperty recovery ang specialty niya.

  • henry ildefonso

    lipunin nyo lahat ang inyong dukumento at lumapit sa alam ninyong mapagkakatiwalaang lawyer yung inaakala ninyong hindi mababayaran. huwag kayong tumigil sa ginagawa ninyong rally upang mapansin kayo ng midya na hindi bulag. ipagkalandakan ninyo ang ginawa ni manny villar at ng asawa nito. pag nanalo si villar sigurado talo kayo.

  • konsehal

    To the farmers…. keep on fighting for your cause. Just remember if villar becomes president you already lost the case.

  • mirasoldoss

    kaya pala minadali nya itransmit ang impeachment ni erap dahil meron siyang kinatatakutan at tutoo pala yong sinabi ni erap na di pumayag si erap na magloan si villar, kailangan na matulungan sila para labanan ang katuladni villar, huwag iboto ang taong yan

  • mirasoldoss

    kaya pala minadali nya itransmit ang impeachment ni erap dahil meron siyang kinatatakutan at tutoo pala yong sinabi ni erap na di pumayag si erap na magloan si villar, kailangan na matulungan sila para labanan ang katulad nila

  • maczoombie

    kawawa naman ang mga farmers na eto kung totoo nga ang storya na eto.
    But if they really have copies of the title kahit pa central bank ang kalaban pwede nilang dalhin ang case sa SC.
    bakit di sila kumuha ng magaling na abugado, si fortune at ang bayad 20% ng lupa. O kaya lapit sila kay enrile, bakit di nila yan gawin? Sino ba leader nila?