Solon says faking land titles deserves 15 years to life imprisonment

TO prevent the growing mockery of the country’s Torrens system, a lawmaker is resurrecting his long pending measure classifying faking or fabricating land titles as a heinous crime.

“There are many incidents of fake or fabricated titles that are inflicting harm on the integrity and stability of the certificates of title and making a travesty of the Torrens system or registration in the country,” Rep. Aurelio D. Gonzales, Jr. (3rd District, Pampanga) stressed.

Gonzales is author of HB 787, pending with the Committee on Justice since July 28, 2010. HB 787 is entitled “An Act to classify the faking or fabricating, negotiating, transacting, conveying or mortgaging of fake or illegally fabricated Torrens Certificates of Title as a heinous offense.”

The bill provides that any person or persons who shall fake or illegally fabricate, negotiate, transact, convey or mortgage fake Torrens certificates of titles shall suffer the penalty of 15 to 30 years of imprisonment.

When such is committed by a syndicate or on a large scale, it shall be considered a heinous offense involving economic sabotage and shall be punished by life imprisonment, Gonzales provided in his bill.

The crime is deemed committed in large scale if it involves three or more fake or spurious land titles, the author explained. It is considered committed by a syndicate if carried out by a group of three or more persons conspiring or confederating with one another.

“These fake or fabricated titles are presented as genuine titles upon the unsuspecting public who later on discover to their dismay that what they have paid with their hard-earned money is not even worth the paper on which the titles are printed,” the author pointed out.

Land title is the evidence of the right of the owner or the extent of his interest, and by which means he can maintain control and as a rule assert right to exclusive possession and enjoyment of the property.

The Torrens system, Gonzales said is an instrument of social and economic growth and development. It has a vital role in stimulating commerce and trade in the country as business transactions as facilitated by the use of titled properties as a source of capital for investment.

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