MANILA, Philippines – Presidential aspirant Manuel B. Villar Jr. shrugged off an expose that his real estate firms engaged in land grabbing practices.
“Ito ay isang black propaganda. Lahat ng lupa namin ay binayaran at may titulo. (This is just black propaganda. All our lands of our real estate businesses were paid and have titles),” he told reporters on Tuesday during a campaign sortie Caloocan City.
He was responding to a special report by abs-cbnnews.com/Newsbreak, which cited a labor complaint filed by Restituto Mendoza, a former in-house lawyer of Adelfa Properties and other firms under the Villar Group.
In the 3-part series, abs-cbnnews.com/Newsbreak reported that real estate companies of Villar layered the transfer of land documents, some of them fake, to legitimize the acquisition of properties where subdivisions sprouted.
The first part of the series cited the case of farmers from Norzagaray, Bulacan who are fighting to get back their ancestral lands that ended up being used by the Villar firms to settle unpaid loans from the central bank. The second part cited a land case in Imus Estate friar land in Cavite. The land was awarded to heirs of 2 families who later found that “fake” titles conveyed from one buyer to the next resulted in what seemed like legitimize property acquisitions with Villar’s Adelfa Properties ending up as the end buyer.
Abs-cbnnews.com/Newsbreak quoted Ma. Nalen Rosario-Galang, Villar’s chief legal officer, who was interviewed last April 7 to respond to the allegations in the report.
Galang denied any wrongdoing by the Villar companies and blasted Mendoza’s claims and personality.
In a letter to ABS-CBN News sent on Tuesday, Galang wrote, “Mendoza’s statements and allegations are coming from a man with bruised ego. He was acting like a “scorned woman”. He couldn’t accept the Company’s evaluation of his performance because he considered himself God’s gift to the legal profession."
Mendoza was dismissed from the Villar firms. He has filed a case to contest his dismissal before the National Labor Relations Commission.
Galang said Mendoza was dismissed because “he attempted to blackmail the company” when the C5 controversy was brought up in the Senate against Sen. Villar.” Galang said the former in-house lawyer threatened to “spill the beans” to Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Sen. Jamby Madrigal if he was not paid P25 million.
“The Company did not accede to his demand because precisely the Company has nothing to fear. All of the Company’s transactions are legal,”Galang stressed.