Aggrieved property owner seeks recompense

"Here is the sad story of an elderly building owner who rented out his property to a motel."

How would you feel if property you legitimately own suddenly becomes inaccessible and practically no longer yours?

That's the sad experience of many a landowner in Metro Manila whose property has been taken over by squatters, or to use a politically correct term, informal settlers. We often hear of such stories, but there's a different one brought to our attention by a reader.

This has to do with an elderly owner of a building in Quezon City. He rented out the building to a motel to the tune of P500,000 a month. Because of his advancing age, the owner decided to look for a buyer of his property.

The owner soon found a buyer at a mutually agreed price. When he informed the motel of this development, the management offered to buy the property at the same price.

The owner did not want to sell his property to the motel, but the management insisted on buying it, claiming they had the right to match the price offered by another buyer.

Since then, the motel no longer paid the rent for the property. The owner tried to collect the monthly rent, but he was repeatedly ignored by the management. One year passed and the motel had not paid a single centavo to the owner.

Repeated demands by the owner for the motel to pay up went unheeded. This is quite unreasonable considering that the two parties had not reached a meeting of minds nor had drawn up a deed of sale for the motel to stop the payment of rent to the property owner.

This appears to be a blatant abuse of a property owner who's an elderly citizen who should be accorded proper respect and not given the run-around by the motel management.

So is it a go for the property owner to file a case in court? That's the right thing to do, from where we sit. Half-a million pesos a month in rent isn't peanuts, after all, especially since the elderly property owner needs enough financial resources in his twilight years.

Drug war casualty

Don't look now, but the latest casualty in the Duterte administration's bloody war on drugs could well be the nation's erstwhile top cop, Police General Oscar Albayalde, that is, if the Senate Blue Ribbon committee's investigation of the so-called "ninja cops"—an offshoot of the main probe of the scandal at the Bureau of Corrections regarding the Good Conduct Allowance Act (GCTA)—turns up more evidence of alleged wrongdoing. Albayalde relinquished his post Monday.

Three former police generals have implicated him in the controversy over a police operation in Pampanga where operatives seized 200 kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu but reported only 38 kilos to headquarters. The rest of the contraband, it turns out, was taken by the 13 police officers who took part in the raid, ostensibly to be recycled and sold on the streets. With a gram of shabu said to be sold for P1,000 by street pushers, then the 160 kilos that would have been sold by the ninja cops would be worth no less than P160 million.

Albayalde, then the Pampanga police provincial office director, is alleged to have made a call to then Region 3 Police Director and now Director General of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Aaron Aquino asking him not to implement the dismissal order against the ninja cops.

Then there's Benjamin Magalong, former chief of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and now Baguio City mayor, who told the Senate hearing that Albayalde asked President Rodrigo Duterte not to implement a dismissal order against the Pampanga police officers. Albayalde denied this, but admitted that sometime in 2016, he called PDEA chief Aaron Aquino, who was then chief of the Central Luzon police, to ask for an update on the case of the Pampanga officers. 

Another witness, then CIDG deputy director and now retired police general Rudy Lacadin, claimed during the hearing that Albayalde called him up when he was investigating the 2013 drug operation and Albayalde told him that he "only got a little" from the 2013 drug operation.

Albayalde stoutly denies all this: "I question the timing of this attack and smear campaign against me. Until now, despite the Senate hearings conducted, no hard evidence was ever presented showing that I was involved in that drug raid in Pampanga in 2013. All statements made remain allegations, insinuations, and unsubstantiated."

Albayalde is due to retire in November, but announced yesterday he was going on a non-duty status effective immediately. Indeed, the credibility of the entire institution has already been tainted, and its ability to implement the Duterte administration's war on drugs with transparency and adherence to the law put under a serious cloud of doubt. That makes Police General Albayalde himself a casualty in the government's war on drugs.

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Topics: Oscar Albayalde , Benjamin Magalong , Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency , Property
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