C.A. junks property case involving Carlos family

ANOTHER family feud over inheritance has resulted in a legal battle, this time involving former Tourism Secretary Vicente Carlos and his sibling Juan Carlos Jr.

The controversy stemmed from a complaint for perjury filed by  Carlos Jr. against his brother involving a house and lot on Morado Street in Dasmariñas Village with a market value of around P120 million.

In the complaint, Carlos Jr. alleged that he and his brother Vicente are stockholders of JC Realty and Building Corp., a real-estate firm.

As of January 2009,  among the assets owned by JC Realty are the Dasmariñas property and a parcel of land in Baguio City with a market value of P5 million.

The said properties were left behind by their father Juan Carlos Sr. when he died on July 15, 2010. Carlos Sr. was the president and chairman of JC Realty.

In April 2010 Carlos Jr. discovered that Vicente and his wife, Cristina Carlos, were able to cause the cancellation of the title over the Morado property and the issuance of a new one under their name over the said property by purportedly using fake and falsified secretary’s certificate dated July 29, 2009, and a deed of absolute sale dated July 16, 2009, wherein it was stated that the Morado property was sold by JC Realty, as represented by their father, to the spouses Carlos for the sum of  P45 million.

For his part, Vicente claimed that he is the acting corporate secretary of JC Realty, thus, all the records of the corporation is under his custody.

Vicente narrated that in a special meeting of the board of directors of the company held on July 2, 2009, it was approved that Carlos Sr. be authorized to negotiate and conclude the sale of the property to the corporation.

Carlos Jr., however, said his brother’s statements made under oath in the secretary’s certificate are false and perjured, considering that the acting corporate secretary was not elected.

He said the corporate secretary of JC Realty from 2004 up to present is Anne Maria Velasco, as shown by the company’s latest General Information Sheet submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Carlos Jr. added that there was no meeting by JC Realty’s board of directors on July 2, 2009, and that there is no consideration for the alleged deed of sale, as his brother did not  pay a single centavo for the  Morado property. On February 28, 2011, the Office of the City Prosecutor issued a resolution ordering the dismissal of the complaint for lack of probable cause.

The resolution was affirmed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in a resolution  issued on January 30, 2012. The DOJ explained that it found no error to warrant the reversal of the findings of the  City Prosecutor. In a decision issued on March 27 and penned by Associate Justice Romero Barza, the CA’s Special Seventeenth Division affirmed the resolution issued by the DOJ.

It noted that as early as 2006, the Supreme Court already held that the decisions of the secretary of justice, being under the control of the President, are not reviewable by the court, but rather by the Office of the President.

“The pronouncement in Roa was thereafter reiterated recently in Callo-Claridad v. Esteban, wherein the Supreme Court explained that it is a grave mistake on the part of a party to assail the secretary of justice’s resolution…as the said mode of appeal should only be resorted to review decisions, resolutions or awards of quasi-judicial  officers, agencies or bodies,” the CA ruled.

“On the other hand, the secretary of justice, in determining the existence of probable cause, was not performing  quasi-judicial but rather an executive function….Accordingly, the present appeal is hereby ordered dismissed,” the CA said. Concurring with the ruling were Associate Justices Socorro Inting and Maria Filomena Singh.