THE Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the Office of the Ombudsman to file graft charges against a ranking official of the Land Registration Authority (LRA) for tampering with 39 titles.
In a decision penned by Associate Justice Jose Perez, the SC’s 2nd Division ordered the Ombudsman to file a complaint for violation of Sections 3(a) and (e) of Republic Act (RA) No. 3019 against Pasig City Register of Deeds Policarpio Espenesin and private respondent Francis Serrano.
The High Court also found Espenesin guilty of grave misconduct and imposed upon him “the penalty of dismissal from service.” His retirement pay and benefits were likewise ordered forfeited.
Espenesin was assigned as the head of the Pasig Registry of Deeds, while Serrano worked for the Yuchengco-owned Malayan Insurance Company.
The case stemmed from the complaint filed by Oscar Ampil, who claimed that Malayan executives president Yvonne Yuchengco, treasurer Gema Cheng, and Serrano, connived with Espenesin in replacing “ASB Realty Corporation” with Malayan Insurance on 39 titles covering condominium units in Malayan Plaza, Ortigas.
The Ombudsman had previously dismissed Ampil’s complaint for insufficient evidence, but the SC set aside the order.
The Malayan Plaza is a joint venture between ASB and Malayan Insurance. The altered titles are supposed to be part of ASB’s share based on their memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed in the 1990s.