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UNCENSORED: All at the same time

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By Manuel L. Morato

So many things are happening all at the same time, enough to really give us enough reason to reflect on why all these are happening to us in particular.

Foremost is the Coronavirus pandemic.  That alone can totally destabilize and disrupt the workings of government and the private sector.  As aptly claimed, we have not seen such a disastrous tragedy as what this pandemic has caused.  The Spanish flu that occurred in 1917/18 was limited in some parts of Europe, unlike this Covid 19 that engulfed the entire world and spared no country in this planet.

For my siblings, it has been too difficult for us to bear.  Not only are we going through the dangers of the Covid 19 pandemic, a tragedy that had befallen us regarding the illegal take-over of our mother’s estate by a group many told us are notorious land-grabbers; and dishonest individuals.

As if the Covid 19 is not enough for us to go through, imagine with the court cases we have to attend to in defense of our mother’s estate that was stolen from us four children, myself as the eldest and my three sisters that followed.  Our youngest brother, the 6th is linked to those who falsified the documents of my mother’s assets.

The 5th brother is playing both sides, despite what he claims that he is neutral for as long as he is given his share due him.  He filed the case with the four of us, myself and my three sisters Elvira, Teresita and Lolita.  As the eldest, I am the Executor of our mother’s Holographic Will which the youngest son together with his group are trying to disclaim and presented handwritten letter of an auntie to claim that the Holographic Will turned over to me by our mother is not the handwriting of our mother.  He presented a letter allegedly written by my mother in 1942 asking General Tanaka to release my father from Fort Santiago.  But our mother’s sister, Celeste, wrote the letter to General Tanaka as my mother was bedridden and requested my auntie to write the letter.  Only the first page was presented in Court.  We requested for the second page wherein my mother’s signature should appear.  It was never presented in Court.  Nevertheless, the first page of the letter handwritten allegedly by my mother was definitely handwritten by her sister, Celeste, our auntie.

It took me sometime to locate my auntie’s passport issued in 1948 as she was supposed to have travelled with us to Spain by ship.  But her scheduled wedding got on the way that she stayed behind.

I am in possession of her passport and her signature proved beyond doubt that the letter to General Tanaka was written by my auntie.  Her signature Celeste E. Epino in her passport matched the E, the C, the e, the T, the p… in that passport.  Even if I were to request the NBI to subject my mother’s handwritten Holographic Will and to compare with her alleged handwritten letter to General Tanaka, proves that the letter handwritten to General Tanaka was not written by our mother.  It was written by her half-sister and personal secretary, Celeste Eclavea Epino.

The goal of trying to destroy the wishes of our mother.  Is it because of the succession provision in it according to age?  As the eldest, I was named by my mother to be the Executor of her Holographic Will; followed by Elvira Morato Cuenca; Teresita Morato Lazatin; Lolita Morato Quiros; Francisco L. Morato and the last, Jose L. Morato.  That’s the fairest and correct way to do it, but lo and behold, the youngest Jose L. Morato ended up the only heir of our mother’s estate.  We don’t quite know what nerve he had to do that; how he did it, etc… but ended up the sole heir.

We do not know why he did that to us and defied the wishes of our mother, aside from the fact that we are all compulsory heirs.  But we know what and how he did it.  His own lawyers submitted in Court one document after another when I was put in the witness stand.  All the documents allegedly signed by our mother were forced on her, including her thumbmark when she was hospitalized for five months.  Another document he made me sign in the hospital when I had an open heart surgery and was hospitalized for several months.  I was made to sign certain documents in my weakest moment and dated them two to three months before and notarized as well to prove that I was not yet in the hospital when I signed the document that was entitled and super imposed after I had signed: “Waiver of Rights.”  He made me sign that I had waived all my rights to the estate of my mother.  As such, he could ease us all out.  I could not sign on behalf of my sisters and why should I renounce my rights which was super imposed on the document after I was made to sign.

We are six compulsory heirs of our mother.  But the youngest wanted it all for himself, as if he is the only heir of our mother.

What pains us are the lies he spread in town that: “kasi ninakawan nila ako sa properties in Spain.”  Dito naman daw niya babawiin.  He was trying to justify his own wrongdoings.

Above all, we never stole anything from him in Spain.  My father in his lifetime sold what he wanted to sell.  That was his right.  Some were left in the name of our mother, who in turn transferred what she inherited from our father to the names of the six of us.  The name of the youngest who did us wrong was not included in the titles for the simple reason that he was a minor and the Register of Deeds in Spain did not accept.  But when the properties were sold, this youngest was given his due share, exactly the same down to the last centavo as the five of us received; and we have the documents to prove that he received exactly the same as us the other five.  It’s duly recorded.

Let me clarify that I was not even in Spain, nor was I involved in the sales of some properties.  It was done by those who were in Spain with our consent, including his consent.  Everything was done right.  But now, he has a different story to tell ….. i.e. “that we stole from him in Spain.”  It was a sister, Lolita, and a brother, Francisco, who were the co-signers of the checks issued to each of us.

In dividing the sales among the six, I requested to divide it by seven, to share it with our mother for as long as she was still alive.  It was followed by all as I requested.  Sinabi ko sa mga kapatid ko, we must share it with Mama habang nabubuhay siya.  She was too kind to give it all to us in her lifetime which I opposed.  Sinabi ko: “Mama, huwag mong ilipat sa aming pangalan ang mga properties niyo in your lifetime.”  Ang sagot sa akin ay: “Sa inyo din lahat yan tutuloy, hijo.”  My father’s estate was settled in 1969.  He passed away in 1965.

How unbearable things happening are for us. Aside from losing my mother’s ancestral home given to her by my father, in death she lost it all done by the youngest son.  It is he who disinherited the five of us, totally contrary to my mother’s wishes; and totally against the law that he cannot deprive us for we are compulsory heirs.  He and his partners in business did that to us.  Believe it or not.  They demolished the ancestral home of our parents in the name of our mother; stole all the estate property inside the house; took all the documents of our father and mother.

They violated the Republic Act 10066 that no structure 50 years and above can be demolished without going to Court.  All the heirs should have been notified.  But that did not happen.  Everything was done under the cloud of secrecy.  We just woke up on Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018 with our connecting gate to our parents’ home barricaded in the family compound; followed by cutting of all the trees planted by my father in the 1950s; stole all the estate properties inside the house including my paintings and demolished the 6 bedroom house without our permission.  The first 21 storey building is rising as another across is also rising in a residential area.

We were told that the two buildings belong to one family.  I was present in the Quezon City Council when the other building granted a “special permit” to go up to 21 floors, the same “special permit” granted to the property of our parents, which requested to add another floor up to 22 floors.  It was immediately granted.

The former Barangay Captain kept all the permits a secret from us.  To think that he was a friend, they did it all under the mantle of secrecy.

Last week, we were told that the buildings were granted up to 24 floors.  It remains to be seen if the construction on our late mother’s property was also issued additional floors through “special permit,” again.  The zonal along Morato Avenue is only up to the 7th floor.

The construction on my late mother’s property did not provide an easement.  Dumikit sa pader ng bahay ng aking sister, as well as on the other two residential houses.  She is suffering so much because she is asthmatic all her life.  She is bedridden.

My sister’s house is suffering from flooding; from dust and steel shaving as the steel bars are sewed and all the cement dust blown on her house, to my building; the noise the two buildings are causing in this residential neighborhood is unbearable.

Ito ang bilin ng aking ina sa akin: “Hijo, ibinigay ko na sa inyo lahat ng properties na minana ko sa inyong ama dito at sa Spain.  Huwag na huwag lang ninyong tatanggalin sa pangalan ko itong bahay na regalo ng inyong Papa sa akin.”

Her wish was not respected by this group I referred to.

It is in her Holographic Will that it is for our enjoyment and to preserve.

Sad as it is, we have no choice but to defend the honor of our mother.  We honored her in life, as we must honor her in death.  

For comments and suggestions email at mlmorato@yahoo.com

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