September 05 - September 11, 2005

Lot buyers group’s complaint
LC treasurer’s office erred in auctioning lot

A 3.3-hectare lot situated at Barangay 1, Laoag City had been mistakenly awarded to a bidder in a public auction conducted by the City Treasurer’s Office in 1998, a group of complainants reported.

The said group, composed of 18 buyers of the property in question, said they have in their possession several documents showing they were allegedly deceived in buying their respective lots from the winning auction bidder, who turned out to be a questionable owner of the property.

The mistake, according to the complainants, was shown in letters written by Ms Erlinda P. Ragasa, city treasurer, dated December 29, 2003 and January 28, 2004, informing a Mrs. Catalina Peralta, the winning bidder in the 1998 auction of the property, that the rightful owner of Lot No. 11784, which was erroneously awarded to her is Mr. Antonio Yabes.

Ragasa further stated in her communication to Peralta that Yabes was able to redeem the auctioned property before the redemption period expired thus making the award of the property in her favor as a result of the 1998 auction is not legally valid.

Ragasa also stated in her letter that Peralta was asked to return the property with the assurance that the purchase amount and her other expenses would be reimbursed.

Meanwhile, Atty. Augustus A. Lucas, Laoag City registrar of deeds, also certified that Mr. Antonio Yabes is the real owner of the property in question based on a court order duly annotated in the land title. Lucas issued the certification on January 8, 2004.

With this development, the 18 complainants said they are now preparing legal actions against Peralta for continuing to collect money from them even if she had known that she is not the legal owner of the property. The complainants were paying her in installment basis.

The complainants further stated that Peralta should refund their money and other expenses since the transaction between them was committed in bad faith as the property she sold to them was not legally hers.

Attempts to reach Peralta for her comments proved futile as she could not be reached as of presstime.

Perry Rey, Contributor

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