Sandiganbayan releases Baguio lot from 34-year sequestration

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    AFTER 34 long years, Ramon Mojica can finally enjoy full ownership of a parcel of land in Baguio City that was mistakenly placed under government sequestration way back in May 23, 1986.

    In a seven-page decision dated February 7, 2020, the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division granted Mojica’s petition against the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and the Register of Deeds (RD) of Baguio City.

    The anti-graft court ordered the cancellation of the annotation on the title of Mojica’s property and the lifting of the PCGG sequestration.

    The court decision means Mojica may now exercise ownership in full including developing, selling, leasing, and transferring the land as he sees fit.

    Records showed the property was included among several other properties in Baguio City seized by the PCGG on suspicion of being part of the ill-gotten wealth of Marcos associates.
    However, Mojica questioned the basis for the sequestration, noting that the PCGG only based its move on a letter from PCGG director Danilo Jimenez.

    He invoked section 3 of the PCGG Rules and Regulations which states that a sequestration or freeze order may be issued on a suspected ill-gotten asset but only upon the authority of at least two commissioners.

    Likewise, he underscored that no legal action has been taken against him by the PCGG after the sequestration but the encumbrance had interfered with this property rights for more than 30 years.

    Sought for clarification, the PCGG informed the court that the property “is not listed as an asset by any defendants in cases for the recovery ill-gotten wealth.”

    The Register of Deeds of Baguio City filed no comment or opposition.

    “It is unrebutted that no writ of sequestration was, in fact, issued by the commissioners of the PCGG over petitioner Mojica’s property. There having been no case that was filed against petitioner Mojica… the supposed sequestration against the property … is deemed automatically lifted,” the Sandiganbayan said.

    Associate Justice Reynaldo P. Cruz penned the ruling concurred in by Associate Justices Alex L. Quiroz and Bayani H. Jacinto.

    In 2012, the government sold two sequestered properties in Baguio City – the Hans Menzi compound for P93.02 million, and the Banaue Inn compound for P10 million.

    These were part of several assets surrendered to the government by businessman and confessed Marcos crony Jose Y. Campos, in exchange for immunity from suit.