UNCENSORED: A personal appeal to Secretary of Justice Menardo Guevarra

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By Manuel L. Morato

Your Honor, my sisters Elvira Morato Cuenca; Teresita Morato Lazatin; Lolita Morato Quiros and myself, Manuel L. Morato make this direct appeal to you as the Secretary of the Department of Justice for reasons that we have gone through several dismissals of our case in the RTC and in the DOJ which is headed by you, Your Honor.  I refer to our case of Syndicated Estafa and Falsification of Documents with NPS Docket No. XV-03-INV-18F-05949.

Mr. Secretary, just to give you an idea of what we have gone through since April 2018 when we took to Court the group that demolished our parents ancestral home without our knowledge, the case was then in the RTC Branch 215, headed by Judge Rafael Hipolito.  The Honorable Judge issued a TRO for 20 days, but the other party did not respect it.  On or about November of 2018, the Judge scheduled the hearing proper and presentation of documents on January 21, 2020.  In January 14, my brother Jose L. Morato and his cohorts requested Judge Rafael Hipolito to inhibit; and he immediately did.

I made it known to the Judge why he accepted to inhibit when it was I and my three sisters who had more right to ask him to inhibit because when the other group we sued did not follow the TRO issued by Judge Hipolito for 20 days, a violation of Judge Hipolito’s order was committed but the Judge did not even reprimand them for not following his order.  That needed sanctioning but the Judge did not.  It pained us for we could have saved the house of my mother.  All the other party said was: “fait accompli,” as if that could exonerate their violation and wrongdoing.

Our case was raffled off to the sala RTC 92 of Judge Eleuterio Bathan.  For practically the entire year of 2019 since it was raffled in January, it was only in August 2014 we were given one hearing; and a favorable one to us I must say and we thought that for the first time we could get a fair decision.  Before Christmas that year, we lost based on his decision that was based on wrong premise; a move to suddenly favor the other party. 

Mr. Secretary, sa tagal ko po sa public service, six years as MTRCB Chairman during President Cory’s term; and PCSO Chairman during President Fidel V. Ramos’ term; and a director of PCSO upon the request of President Gloria in 2004, I actually did not want to go back to public service kasi po kailangan ko pong asikasuhin ang estate of my mother as Executor of her estate, as written in her Holographic Will.

President Gloria insisted for me to help her and specifically told her that I don’t want to be PCSO Chairman again.  Just a director will do.  Nadamay po tuloy ako sa false accusations ng mga nag-take over sa PCSO na tauhan ni PNoy and raised all kinds of false charges against President Gloria’s appointees, but the main target of the persecution was President Gloria.

We do not want our case to be left unattended to.  My sisters and I are fighting for what is right, true, honest and just.

The dastardly act committed against us by the group of the Belmontes, Robles and a brother of ours who is part and parcel to this grand deception cannot be allowed to “win” again; and I do not mean a conviction, Your Honor.  I am not a harsh nor a vengeful person.

I, together with my sisters, demand for Justice.  Group like them must be taught to be more just and have civility in life.  It’s not only money that makes the world go round.  They must be taught that there is a Supreme Being that guides us in life leading to eternal life.

Your Honor, the pain of illegally taking over my mother’s home does not end there.

We are in our 80s, Your Honor, and the construction on both sides we have to bear the noise day in and day out, have affected our health.

Seeing our mother’s house gone and a monstrous 21 storey condotel rising owned by the Belmontes in a residential area, the first of its kind, is truly painful.  Not only that right across is a 22 storey building allegedly owned by “Mr. Dexter Co” but people are talking that it is owned by Mayor Joy Belmontes’ husband, Alimurung.  It does have the mark of ownership by one family to be able to get a “Special Permit” from then Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte Alimurung to go highrise because they own them despite the fact the classification along Tomas Morato Avenue is medium rise, up to only 7 floors.  But with the approval of the then Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte Alimurung as head of the City Council of Quezon City, she approved the two highrise buildings to go up to 21 and 22 storeys almost facing each other, both disguised under different names.

We took Joy Belmonte to the Ombudsman two or three years ago for a public official must not favor her/his own relatives up to the 4th degree of consanguinity; and with the cases we took to Court involves aiding or favoring relatives, 1st degree of consanguinity.

It was not difficult for me to find out the truth for as I’ve mentioned, the persons involved are the Belmontes, Sta. Lucia Land and my youngest brother Jose L. Morato who belong to the group as “Sonny Belmonte’s dummy.”  Bakit nila tinira ang bahay ng aming Ina – of all properties?  Parang binalewala ang aming pagkakaibigan ng 40 years in the lifetime of Betty Go Belmonte.

Your Honor, when this incident happened to us, I made it known publicly through my column in the Peoples Journal wherein I was a columnist for 19 years, on and off, because, the neighborhood were blaming me of destroying the ancestral home of our parents.  Being the eldest and known nation wide for the two high profile offices I’ve occupied, I was the one being blamed.

The entire country got to know of what had happened to us.  Your Honor, so many families are victims of landgrabbing and/or a family member taking advantage of the inheritance from their parents over other brothers and sisters.  It is so rampant, Your Honor; and most of them are bunking on me to fight for them as well.

Many cases start from the Registry of Deeds where the corruptions emanate.  In our case, the three properties of my mother where our ancestral home once stood were easily transferred to Jose L. Morato because of the Belmonte connection.  Through falsified documents, he managed to transfer to his name and sold to the sons of Belmonte.

This our lawyer, Atty. Diosdado Macapagal who passed away recently got a Lis Pendens on the 3 titles of my mother that the Belmontes acquired from my youngest brother illegally.  That means a lot to us, Your Honor, for it shows some pressure was put on the Registry of Deeds in order for the properties to be put in the name of Jose L. Morato (71 years old) who from his own mouth told me when we were still in good terms about 2013 when I was confined in the hospital that he is actually the “dummy of Sonny Belmonte” in acquiring lands and buildings, transferred to unknown persons once or twice so it cannot be traced.

I reprimanded him on what he was doing, destroying the name of our father, who was an epitome of justice and honesty.

To summarize, Your Honor:

1.  DOJ Quezon City in the sala of Prosecutor Roderick P. Robledo dropped our case against Jose L. Morato, the Belmontes and Sta. Lucia without giving us a single day in Court, in December 10, 2019, Christmas time.            

2.  We appealed for Review to the Department of Justice, to you, Your Honor.  It was assigned to Undersecretary Neil Bainto who caused the dismissal based on a flimsy technicality and a lie that we did not notify the Quezon City Prosecutor Robledo about our decision to seek for review in the main office of the Department of Justice headed by Secretary Menardo Guevarra, Your Honor po.

Your Honor, our lawyer Atty. Diosdado Macapagal submitted the notice to Quezon City DOJ Prosecutor Roderick P. Robledo on or about December 19, 2019, which we submitted a copy as well to the DOJ Padre Faura December 27, our deadline to file.

Our case landed in the sala of Undersecretary Neil Bainto who likewise dismissed our case based on a lie.

We did not hear anymore from him for a long time until this last decision of Undersecretary Emmaline Aglipay Villar who dismissed our case based solely on only one of our charges: “Syndicated Estafa,” and totally ignoring the “Falsification of Documents.”

I have great respect for public officials handling the Justice System of our country.  But there are times that errors are committed here and there; and very glaring.

I am not condemning anyone.  I understand what happened to us in the QC Prosecutor’s office.  It’s painful not to have been given a fair chance to answer in just one hearing, at least.

In the case of Undersecretary Neil Bainto, his decision was based on lie, medyo mahirap pong tanggapin.

Now, the decision of Undersecretary Emmaline Aglipay Villar might have been overlooked last December 23, 2020 because it was hurriedly decided on because of the Christmas Season.  A part of the case was overlooked, the “Falsification of Documents.”

I have high regards for General Aglipay.  I have had an opportunity of meeting him personally in the past during my almost 20-year stint in government from President Cory as MTRCB Chairman for six years from 1986 to 1992; as PCSO Chairman of President FVR from 1994 to 1998; and again PCSO director during the term of President Gloria from 2004 to 2010.

Let me say, that General Aglipay is one person I’ve always admired at a distance.  He is humble and an honest man, totally unassuming.  A good and kind person.

Undersecretary Emmaline, I am not trying to contest your decision.  No matter what happens, I’ll continue to admire your father.  I am only calling your attention.

But please allow me to make this final appeal to the Secretary of Justice, Menardo Guevarra himself to please render a decision on the “Falsification of Documents” for there is no decision yet on those very glaring falsified documents submitted to Court by the opposite camp.

Everybody was busy during the Christmas Season that our case might have been overlooked.

My brother Jose L. Morato lied including his cohorts in this case.  The documents should guide us on this case.

There was even a big lie from my brother, Jose L. Morato, na nikawan daw naming siya sa properties namin in Spain.  Totally untrue.  It’s my sister, Lolita Morato Quiros, married to a former senator in Spain; and Francisco L. Morato who sold some properties in Spain.  Both know that the proceeds were equally divided; and we have the receipts to prove it.  We all received the same amount.  We don’t know why he continues to lie, making this case more complicated as it is already.

I was nowhere near Spain when some properties were sold in the lifetime of my father and in the lifetime of our mother.  I was in Manila taking are of my widowed mother; and already serving in the MTRCB, then PCSO.

Secretary Guevarra, Your Honor, it has been very difficult for us magkakapatid and we are still going through it.  We do not have the luxury of time.  My three sisters and myself are in our 80s.

Wala po kaming magawa sa mga Korte sa Quezon City.  Hawak po ng mga Belmonte.  I’ve been told by my friends in the Quezon City Hall to get out of the Quezon City Courts for it’s an exercise in futility.  Sure enough, it has been unbelievably difficult for cases that can be decided right away.  We have been dribbled from one Court to another, at great expense on our part.

What made things more difficult is the fact that the name of now Senator Bong Go was and is being floated that the Belmontes are claiming the Senator is related to them through Betty Go Belmonte; that promotions to the Court of Appeals are promised to Judge handling our case; that the former Speaker Sonny Belmonte is well connected to President Duterte and can help in the promotions of the Judges and Fiscals.

How can we possibly bear such pressures?

It is so noticeable Your Honor if you examine very carefully what we went through.  Not a single glare of honesty was accorded us from Court to Court; from prosecutor to prosecutor; from Fiscal to Fiscal for the several libel charges Jose L. Morato and Mayor Joy Belmonte Alimurung have been filing against me, including Cyberlibel approved by the NBI for simply explaining in my column to defend myself in public.  I was only explaining in my column that they started publishing in the Quezon City News Bulletin falsified documents that I renounced my inheritance in favor of Jose L. Morato.

I had to explain my side on what they were floating in public which were untrue.

What is happening to our beloved country?

There is no justice anymore.  Palakasan na lang ba?

Our case is a public issue for pre-selling is involved.  It is not an issue within the family, but the entire neighborhood is at issue for this is the first time two highrise buildings are going up in a residential area, given “Special Permits” by the Quezon City Council, approved by then Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte Alimurung to go 21 and 22 storeys when our area belongs to “Medium Zoning” that allows only up to 7-floors.  Self-interest is involved at the cost of an entire neighborhood.

My brother, Jose L. Morato, in his letters to my sisters dramatized the possibility of their being penalized with “Reclusion Perpetua.”  That’s not what we are after.  We don’t want anything harmful to be inflicted on them.  We need understanding and an honest solution.  But the Courts are not helping focus to reach an amicable settlement.  On the contrary, we are driven apart. 

We seek for fairness.  We have been made to suffer a lot, including the great disturbance of the constructions, day in and day out.  We want peace.

Despite the fact that the three lots of my mother are in Lis Pendens, how come construction goes on?  And fast!

For comments and suggestions email at mlmorato@yahoo.com

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