By Manuel L. Morato
(First of 2 parts)
I was told that we are still on General Community Quarantine. The Courts opened on June 1, except the Quezon City Courts because of one inside the Courthouse who was suspected of being “positive”; the Court closed once again. How true is it? Were those who were tested handled by qualified “tester” with the supervision of a qualified doctor? Now the Courts are closed again. It opened for only one day and closed the following day. Could it be a manipulated excuse? A friend working in court told me.
I just hope that this incident is for real and not being used for convenience; maybe to delay cases na may sabit sila; for self-interest? Or for a dilatory tactic?
In our neighborhood as early as before June 1, there were workers already in the highrise buildings beside us at nag-pupukpukan na. Not only that, but the City Administrator also took over from the Barangay. He had the barricades removed in our Barangay at pinagbawalang makialam. It’s the City Administrator and the Mayor dictating what they want. My concern is, have they been authorized to do it on their own? Quezon City does not belong to one family. You have to follow the dictates of the Office of the President through the DILG as well as the declaration of GCQ was supposed to have been extended to June 21 to finally plan the system how it would be under “Modified GCQ.” They pulled down the barricades too soon for the GCQ was extended to June 21.
What bothers many, many people calling me is who owns the 22 storey building along Tomas Morato. As far as the front lot which has been classified “commercial” since 1960 with limitation to rise up to only 5 floors. It’s now on the 7th floor with rusted and corroded steel bars. That’s for the front lot along Morato Avenue. But why are they treating the next 2nd and 3rd lots behind as part of the commercial front lot while they are classified as residential?
The second lots behind my building are all residential areas, and it should be for all the lots behind the Morato Avenue. The one who bought the front lot along Morato Avenue declared commercial cannot include the backlots they bought as being commercial as well. Those residential areas with existing encumbrances in the title annotated for residential homes only since 1939 must be honored, and if they are going to abrogate the encumbrances on the titles held by the owners the public must be duly informed, heard and published in newspapers of national circulation; and a hearing in the Quezon City Council instead of ramming it all on us and final approval by the DILG under which all local government units (LGU) falls under its jurisdiction. No Approval.
As of a few days ago, before June 1, the barricades on our street here on Scout Gandia Street corner Morato Avenue have been removed so cement trucks can enter to pour cement in these two favored projects facing each other. The 22 storey building allegedly owned by a Mr. Dexter Co, (according to my friends in the BDO branch that used to rent but were booted out) seems to be allied with QC Administrator Michael Vincent Nepomuceno Alimurung, brother-in-law of Mayor Joy Belmonte Alimurung, brother of her husband whose bulletproof car is often seen inspecting the area, according to residents in the neighborhood.
That is the talk running around that Joy has given his brother in law full powers para hindi na ang Mayor, sister-in-law ang masabit. How convenient! Isn’t that nepotism?
I happened to attend a hearing of the Quezon City Council with my lawyers to enlighten us why some chosen residential lots were given “Special Permits” to build highrise up to 21 storey building without the knowledge of the community? That was in 2019. My parents’ ancestral home and the three lots in the name of my mother, a gift of my father to her, constructed in the 1950s was given a “Special Permit” together with 2 other properties, one across allegedly owned by a Mr. Dexter Co; and another comrade of theirs in Barangay Laging Handa, nearby, but the neighborhood association fought back. The contractor granted a “Special Permit” is a member of the “holier-than-thou.” But the Barangay Laging Handa and its Homeowners’ Association was able to have the “Special Permit” issued by the City Council canceled. Only the deep hole remains.
As landgrabbers would have it, it was passed on from one dummy-buyer to another when all along it’s the Belmontes who ended up buying, as regards to my mother’s property. Our lawyers are holding to all the falsified documents which were submitted to the Courts: RTC 215 of Judge Rafael Hipolito; RTC 92 of Judge Eleuterio L. Bathan, whose decision was untruthful; now present in the Sala of Judge Janet Abergos-Samar, RTC Branch 219. In two years, we have been dribbled in 3 Courts. Malakas daw ang kalaban namin. Ang Korte dapat pinapanigan ang tama, kaya nga may takip ang mata ng Huwes na manghuhusga. Hindi ganoon dito sa Quezon City. May nagdidikta daw sa kanila ang sabi sa akin ng mga taga-loob who tell me the true score we are in. De susi ang mga husgado dito. Umalis na raw kami sa mga Korte sa Quezon City for there is no law anymore dito. Palakasan na. Isang tama lang ng Covid 19 kayo! Isipin ninyong mabuti na may mas malakas kayong kalaban. God in His wisdom will judge you.
Let me go back to the illegal construction on the property of my mother that belongs to the six children according to her Holographic Will. It was my mother who entrusted her Holographic Will to me as her eldest son. It was accepted by all during her children during her lifetime and after her death. But now the youngest brother joined forces with two groups known as landgrabbers as we are told even by Congressmen and businesswomen who came to tell us who we are up against; that the news has spread like wildfire. God have mercy!
The lawyers of my youngest brother who partnered with some questionable and notorious groups managed to grab the properties of my mother and they ended up owning even our properties in Quezon Province which the six of us inherited. We lost them all.
They insist that my mother’s Holographic Will was not probated. Let me give an example as regards the Holographic Will of my late father who passed away in 1965. The case landed in the Sala of Judge Tutaan of Quezon City. For 5 years it was being liquidated in Court, with the opposite camp’s lawyer calling my father “insane” when he wrote his Holographic Will. It’s an insult and a lie I could not let them get away with it for that Holographic Will was done under the supervision of my father’s lawyer, Judge Sixto de la Costa. It’s also a Holographic Will in my father’s own handwriting.
My sisters and I including my two brothers whom I am no longer in speaking terms with our two brothers for disobeying the handwritten Holographic Will of my mother. The two claimed that my mother’s Holographic Will “was not probated.” It’s what also happened to our late father’s Holographic Will, but Judge Tutaan ruled that it is the handwriting of Don Tomas Morato; and ended the case.
Amazingly enough, when greed took over, my strange brother’s lawyer put my brother in the witness stand. Guess what he said; and it is in the stenographic notes of the Court (the 1st Sala of RTC Judge Rafael Hipolito) my youngest brother allied with the group of the Belmontes and Exy Robles of Sta. Lucia Builders said that my mother was of “low education.” That is one thing my three sisters and I resented to this day. My mother was a student of Centro Escolar de Senoritas; at age 19 in 1927; was chosen and won the Carnival Queen as Miss Quezon Province; became a teacher of Home Economics in Centro Escolar until she married my father who was a widower in 1931. I was born in 1933.
If there are among us who are insane, uneducated with bad manners, are those who did my mother wrong – the two youngest brothers who teamed up, who by the way were mortal enemies as the second to the youngest of the two brothers accused the youngest of stealing the titles of some lots in his name we inherited from our mother. It took me to reconstruct the titles for him. Now they are together because he insisted to be paid his share. The youngest gave it to him to have him as an ally. On our part, my 3 sisters and I insist that the estate be settled “como Dios mando” – as God wants it to be settled the right way.
* * * * *
I am requesting the Mayor’s office through Mayor Joy Belmonte Alimurung’s office why were the two projects here on Scout Gandia St., one owned by my mother; and one owned by a certain Mr. Dexter Co allowed to start construction before June 1 which was later amended and deferred to June 21 by the President as they said: “time was miscalculated regarding the opening and mixing trucks not to be allowed.” The barricades on our street, Scout Gandia Street was immediately removed so that the big cement mixer can enter the constructions. They did it before June 1, but changes were made and moved the GCQ to June 21. All works must stop and resume on June 21 – if it is not extended again.
Days before, laborers were making a lot of noise already; without masks to protect the people in this residential neighborhood. They are rushing to cover-up the rusted steel, corroded with rust that can compromise the stability of the buildings. That’s what they are doing right now, disguising the heavily rusted steel bars of the foundation.
There have been cases that a highrise building with corroded steel foundation was stopped by the city engineers office of Quezon City from going highrise as originally planned. The contractor was only allowed to go up to the 4th floor instead to the 21st floor as originally planned.
Could the same be applied to the buildings rising beside us?
We have pictures of the corroded and heavily rusted steel bars that can cause danger to the structure. Even if they covered it with cement, the rust will continue to “eat” the steel bars within the cement, eventually weakening the structure.
We are constantly informed by our neighbors that the City Administrator has clipped the authority of members of our Barangay Sacred Heart who found it early to remove the barricades on our street until the final announcement from the Office of the President which was deferred to June 21, 2020. But the two projects are now in full blast cementing the corroded steel bars to hide the rusted steel na Puno ng kalawang that can compromise the whole structure of 21 storey given by the City Council “Special Permit,” approved by then Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte Alimurung. What is so “special” about these two highrise buildings? Dahil ba sa kanila itong dalawang highrise buildings? Tatlo sana in the neighborhood sa Barangay Laging Handa but the Homeowners fought back. Hindi natuloy. Pero barkada din nila ang may-ari. Selective justice!
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