By Perfecto T. Raymundo Jr.
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) has asked the Supreme Court (SC) en banc (full court) to hear a case involving the University of the Philippines-North Science and Technology Park (S&T Park), popularly known as the UP-AyalaLand Technohub, along Commonwealth Ave. in Quezon City.
The OSG is an attached agency of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The case, which is now before the SC’s Second Division, involves the alleged erroneous issuance in favor of a private individual of a transfer certificate of title (TCT) over the land upon which the S&T Park stands.
The land in question overlaps lots registered under the name of the University of the Philippines, and UP’s indefeasible title to the property has in fact been upheld several times by the SC itself.
The OSG argued in its motion for referral to the SC en banc dated August 3, 2011 that the case is of such paramount importance to the country that it merits the attention of all 15 sitting justices of the SC, considering that the case involves a large tract of government land reserved for none other than the national university and represents substantial business investments from various private partners, including the AyalaLand Inc.
The SC’s Second Division had earlier denied the OSG’s motion for referral to the SC en banc.
This led to the OSG’s filing of a motion for reconsideration (MR) on November 24, 2011.
The case arose from a petition for reconstitution of TCT over the questioned parcel of land filed by a certain Segundina Rosario (now deceased) at the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 101 in Quezon City in 1997.
Rosario claimed that her TCT was among those burned in a fire in 1988, and for this reason she sought a reconstitution or reconstruction of her alleged lost certificate.
Despite the fact that the land she claimed overlaps land covered by TCT Nos. 192689 and 192687 issued in the name of UP, and despite her use of fraudulent documents as evidence, the RTC ruled in Rosario’s favor.
The Court of Appeals (CA) later upheld the RTC’s ruling.
The SC’s own internal rules provide that the Court en banc shall act on cases where a doctrine previously laid down by the Court could possibly be modified or reversed or on cases where the subject matter has a huge financial impact on businesses or on a community, among others.