The controversial Rosario, Batangas estate allegedly owned by Vice-President Jejomar Binay may be forfeited if proven that the property was converted from agricultural to residential or commercial.
The Department of Agrarian Reform personnel have already visited the so-called ‘Hacienda Binay’ and is currently working with the Register of Deeds of Batangas to find out whether the land was indeed unlawfully converted.
”These land holdings now are subject of verification with the Register of Deeds because DAR is not the keeper of records when land is transferred,” said DAR Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes.
According to the law ”undertaking of any development activity, the results of which modify or alter the physical characteristics of the agricultural lands to render them suitable for non-agricultural purposes, without an approved order of conversion from the DAR.”
Businessman Antonio Tiu who owns Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp. insisted he bought the land from Laureano Gregorio and took a firm stand that he is not a dummy of Vice-President Binay. In the previous Senate probe he showed an un-notarized Memorandum of Agreement as proof of purchase and ownership of the 145-hectare property from Gergorio.
The 145-hectare Sunchamp property is possibly under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program. Therefore, the sale or conversion of agricultural land without authorization from the DAR is against the law according to Secretary delos Reyes. The DAR has to issue a Certificate of Land Ownership Award or Emancipation Patent before a person can claim ownership of agricultural land if the land is originally under the land reform of the government.
Tiu is developing the property into an agri-tourism destination. If the investigation proves that I was illegally converted the court will release an order to stop the operation.