I did not know that “land grabbing” existed until it happened to us – something we never thought would ever happen to anyone until I started receiving letters from cities nationwide begging for help.
There are two letters emailed to me which, more or less, typifies the modus operandi of persons who feel no remorse of doing something wrong against their own siblings; their own flesh and blood. It really would take a person with distorted sense of justice and fairness to commit such wrongdoing; or call it an outright crime.
One of the letters is “Land grabbing in Iloilo same as your case.”
“Hello, Sir… My family in Iloilo is currently undergoing the same thing as what you are going through. Our family is a victim of land grabbing in cooperation with corrupt government officials, po. True we have been bombarded with all sorts of harassment cases including libel… naku po… sabi ko nga I can detail how these syndicates work from the LGU, LRA, DENR, DAR kaya lang ang hirap kasi magkakasabwat po. We also have pending cases filed in Court, but its high time we pool together and expose these people po. Mabuti ka Sir you have access to media. Kami hirap na hirap. I have filed all sorts of complaints against government officials pero puro sila sindikato… (signed).”
The other letter entitled “Land dispute.” “Good morning, Sir. We are undergoing something very similar to what you are going through. My mother’s properties in Iloilo was allegedly sold to 1… and 2… currently we (4 of us are against our eldest sister). We have filed the cases in courts but … despite having been informed of the fraudulent transaction built a building while the case is still in court which opened recently. They know that justice is slow and they can bribe government officials into issuing them permits. You have a voice, Sir, while we are very private citizens and have no clout at all. Please continue the fight for all of us who are voiceless and powerless. We are with you in this fight. Sincerely, (signed).”
These two cases are very similar to what we are going through. Honestly, there are so many others similarly situated as we find ourselves in. I cannot even say that hopefully it could comfort you. No, nothing can possibly remove the pain inflicted on us going through the same ordeal. Nothing can possibly comfort us, most especially if the properties came from our parents that rightfully belong to all the children, the legal heirs under the law.
We cannot understand why a sibling, brother or sister, can do something so terribly wrong and criminal. No alibi in the world can possibly justify such wrongdoing. We cannot accept what was done to us, neither could you. It is a pain that goes “to the bone,” as some would say; something so painful and very hard to bear.
Suffice it to say, how sad they are for what happened to write me letters. We know the pain that you are going through for we, too, together with my three sisters and myself are suffering as well. Only greed could change the heart of a person; and of course, that is not what we are fighting for. We only want to correct a wrong done to us and our beloved parents, nothing more, nothing less.
It has been painful for my three sisters and myself to have to carry the burden that we never expected would ever happen. I am hoping that these present government would help correct a wrong system, a wrong practice that had been going on for a long time. The Justice system is not working as it should.
We see falsified documents presented in court, and yet it is being debated for a long time – something so glaringly wrong that could be resolved in a matter of days. While cases are delayed/postponed, it turns out in favor of those who committed the crime of land grabbing because they go on destroying the property. Delays in court hearings are definitely in favor of the party who committed the crime. It works to their favor for that’s exactly their strategy to frustrate the rights of the aggrieved parties.
I’ve often thought and wished we had the Jury System in cases such as ours. The Judge renders the decision based on the votes of the 11, 13 and 15 members of the Jury.
It has often been said, that cases in court are “bought” by the erring party who’ve made money to spend on the stolen property through pre-selling and other means. That’s as things are today. Hindi ko po nilalahat for I’ve seen Judges, Fiscals, Prosecutors, Justices… whose integrity are intact from the day they were born. It’s in their genes to be just and honorable. Nobody can change them anymore. Let us thank God that we have them.
Remember, there is a saying that “God does not sleep.” You better believe it. As we seek justice, we also must bear in mind that Divine Justice exists.
What pains me most is how can a son or daughter do wrong to our departed mother and father; and their rightful heirs. It’s a double-cross that should never be committed by anyone, much less to our beloved parents, dead or alive here on earth or in the next life.
The two letters I included in this column could be referring to appointees of the past administration who must be weeded out in their positions for corruption continues in many government departments and agencies. Security of tenure now being talked about must be reviewed thoroughly for unless this present administration is unable to weed out the misfits appointed in the past, the injustices being committed by them will continue. That is why we feel nothing has changed. Most of the undesirables of the past are still around.
There must be justice to every case from the very start. Once the court sees the falsified documents or other unlawful acts committed, suspend the construction through TRO or injunction until the case is decided upon. That is the only solution to stop “Land grabbing” and “Land disputes.”
As things are, it is very sad.
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