Rep. Un­abia de­nies he’s a land grab­ber

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Top Stories - By Al­wen Salir­ing

MISAMIS Ori­en­tal 1st dis­trict Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Peter Un­abia is set to an­swer the charges filed by a cou­ple from In­da­hag, Ca­gayan de Oro City be­fore the of­fice of the om­buds­man over the is­sue of ‘land grab­bing’.

Un­abia’s camp re­ceived the om­buds­man’s de­ci­sion on Mon­day, Septem­ber 11, which or­ders him to an­swer ac­cu­sa­tions of cou­ple Ed­ward and Raida Layagon for al­legedly grab­bing and fenc­ing the prop­erty they claimed.

“We will file our counter-af­fi­davit any­time this week,”Lawyer Dale Mor­deno, Un­abia’s le­gal coun­sel, said.

In a press brief­ing yes­ter­day, Mor­deno clar­i­fied that the is­sue arose from the own­er­ship of Un­abia over a par­cel of land in In­da­hag which is now de­vel­oped into a tourist des­ti­na­tion, and has noth­ing to do with his of­fi­cial func­tions as a law­maker.

Mor­deno said the con­gress­man de­nied the al­le­ga­tions of land grab­bing, il­le­gal fenc­ing, threat, say­ing th­ese were all ‘un­founded and base­less’.

“Th­ese are the things that we cat­e­gor­i­cally de­nied. He was im­pli­cated in the com­plaints by as­so­ci­a­tion be­cause of the ap­par­ent works now go­ing on in the area,” Mor­deno said.

Mor­deno said the trans­ac­tions of the dis­puted prop­erty had long been en­tered by Un­abia even be­fore he be­came a pub­lic of­fi­cial.

Un­abia’s le­gal coun­sel and the In­da­hag vil­lage of­fi­cials, who were also im­pli­cated in the case, showed to the me­dia copies of land ti­tles, per­mits, cer­ti­fi­ca­tions, clear­ances and other per­ti­nent doc­u­ments to prove that the com­plainants have al­ready no hold over a por­tion of lot they in­sist to claim.

The vil­lage of­fi­cials said the Layagons don’t even have a sin­gle ev­i­dence to sup­port their claims.

The prop­erty al­luded to in the om­buds­man or­der is a piece of land con­tain­ing an area of 3.943 hectares and cov­ered by ‘Ori­hi­nal na Ti­t­ulo Blg. P-5117’ is­sued by the Reg­is­ter of Deeds on March 1, 2004 in the name of Un­abia, who was then a pri­vate ci­ti­zen.

Mor­deno said the com­plainants launched a protest be­fore the De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources (DENR-Cenro) ques­tion­ing the is­suance of the ti­tle.

But, the DENR dis­missed the Layagons’ protest in 2014.

“Nahimo gyud ning con­tro­ver­sial be­cause the Layagons did not stop seek­ing reme­dies de­spite the fact nga wala nay nahimo ang ilang protest kay lagi ang yuta naa na­man ti­t­ulo unya dili nana pwede ipa-can­cel sa DENR, ”Mor­deno said.

Mor­deno said the com­plainants were af­forded am­ple op­por­tu­nity by the DENR to file ap­pro­pri­ate land ap­pli­ca­tion of their own but they opted to waive and ceded

their claims over the land in fa­vor of the ad­join­ing own­ers and ti­tle hold­ers.

Mor­deno added sev­eral agree­ments were made whereby com­plainants with­drew and waived their claims in fa­vor of the ad­join­ing own­ers amount­ing to over P3 mil­lion in 2015 and 2016.

“As you can see kapila na naghatag og kwarta si Cong kay dili siya gusto og samok karon kay bisan unsa na lang al­le­ga­tions I think this is be­low the belt. I don’t know if the con­gress­man is level headed enough to ac­com­mo­date should the com­plainants come up with a set­tle­ment,” Mor­deno said.

“The al­le­ga­tions are hearsay for ut­ter lack of per­sonal knowl­edge. We have a very good grounds to ex­cul­pate the con­gress­man in this case,” Mor­deno said.

(JOEY P. NACALABAN)

Atty. Dale Mor­deno (ex­treme right) ex­plains to the me­dia why his client, Con­gress­man Peter Un­abia would not be charged in the om­buds­man due to the land grab­bing case. With him are In­da­hag Barangay chair Meli­tona Pa­tri­ana and some barangay of­fi­cials.

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