Whether Vice-president Jejomar Binay or his friend Antonio Tiu, “whether the hacienda is 145 or 350 hectares, it is in violation of the agrarian reform law, which limits land ownership to only five hectares,” said Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, a former agrarian reform secretary. “The legality of the existence of an hacienda which, by definition, is a huge tract of land, is deeply suspicious, and may have involved the crimes of falsification of public documents, and of illegal conversion of agricultural land.”
“If Gregorio was not an owner or a farmer-beneficiary, presumably he is a poseur or a fraud. And Tiu is lying when he claims that he bought the land from this poseur. Thus, Tiu is liable for contempt for telling fairy tales,” the lady senator added.
“How can an hacienda of 145 or 350 hectares be consolidated in Rosario, when only 87 hectares have been approved for conversion? Originally, land in Rosario was agricultural. How could it have been converted for an alleged agri-tourism business? Under the agrarian reform program, this mess stinks,” Santiago added.
Santiago said, “when I was agrarian reform secretary, the most scandalous source of corruption in the DAR was the rampant illegal conversion of agricultural land to residential or commercial land. Hence, after reading about the humongous size of the land, my eyebrows rose up to my hairline.”
The senator is urging the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee to investigate on DAR officials and relevant persons for failing to put the Rosario, Batangas property under agrarian reform and for what appears to be the conversion of agricultural land to commercial.