Tuesday, April 24, 2007


I need your help.

I ran across this problem and I do not know how to solve it. I am going to be a bit vague so as not to embarrass the individuals involved. I have researched the information and have documents to prove the salient facts.

A foreigner came to the Philippines, fell in love and got married. Together he and his wife decided to open a small beach resort. After a long search they found the perfect piece of land. The realtor told them the large beach at their back door was “public property.” This was his first mistake. He should have checked the records on file in the local land office. A large part of the beach was private property.(documents on file at the newspaper office)

The actual owner of the beach property was a little old Philippine lady and her 62 year old husband. They had saved all their life to buy a small piece of land on which to retire. Now their dream was about to become a nightmare.

The foreigner now had three options. He could go back to the realtor and demand a refund. He could workout some friendly arrangement with the little old lady and her husband. He could fight. Sadly, on bad advice, he decided to fight.

He took the old lady to court. He lost the case. (documents on file) He filed another case. While pending, the case appears to be more a nuisance suit than a real charge. (documents on file) The court will decide that. He then went onto their land and cut their fence claiming the fence was built on public land. ( note: There are two laws concerning public beach land. Depending on the zoning laws, the public land is measured from high tide using 3 meters or 20 meters. The foreigner naturally chose 20 meters. Unfortunately this is the wrong law for this zone.)

When the owners attempted to legally protect their land from erosion, he came on their land in the dead of night ( indication even he knew he was doing wrong) and destroyed the temporary breakwater. This started a series of intimidating confrontations that resulted in the Filipino couple being terrified to come on their own land. The couple did obtain a permit to build a stone breakwater. This permit did not please the foreigner. He accused the city engineer of malfeasance. Even created a public bulletin board accusing the city Engineer of malfeasance in office. This is possibly a mistake that may prove to haunt him when he tries to get a special permit to build cabins or walkways on DENR land. The mangrove swamps that border his land are ecologically fragile and important to the environment. Getting a special permit to build there may become a problem without the help of the city engineer.

The foreigner continued his ill-advised campaign. He bought the access road used by everyone for many years. It is still used by everyone, except the little old lady , her husband and their friends. He won’t let them have access to their own property. I am sure this is a violation of Philippine law covered under "userpation".

The foreigner threw hot coffee on a Filipino worker. When the worker brought the police, the foreigner dropped his pants and actually showed his ass to the police. (documents on file)

When threatened with leagal action the foreigner says he will call his "friend" the Govenor. I know our govenor. It is hard for me to believe he would support these documented outrages.

Then there is the “rape” accusation. “Someone” created a leaflet accusing the 62 year old man of raping a young local high school girl. The leaflet was printed in the Tagalog not the local language. The slanderous leaflet was distributed at the local high school. I spoke to the girl and her mother. They both deny the story and are willing to submit to a medical exam to prove it. The viciousness of this attack on this old man, his wife and this innocent young girl's reputation is unconscionable. I have no idea who did this ugly crime, but I have an opinion. Did I mention the foreigners wife does not speak Visyan only Tagalog?

There have been numerous other violations. For example, someone burned a bunch of fishing boats in the mangrove swamp. Before the case got to court all the fishermen were paid to drop the charges. Not sure who did the crime but all the fishermen now beach their boats as far from the foreigner's land as physically possible.

I have tried to think of a way to solve this vexing problem. Trespass and other constraining laws do not seem to be effective as the foreigner just pays the fine and continues his violations. Appealing to reason does not seem to be effective.

Perversely there is a degree of poetic justice here. The Filipino couple will probably be forced to sell their land. The only one who will want or afford this prime piece of real estate will probably be another foreigner. This will put two foreigners fighting it out in the Philippine courts. As these foreigners get poorer, the Filipino lawyers will get richer. It saddens me that a guest in this country can cause this much heartache and pain without any real penalty.

1 comment:

Don said...

I am pleased to read something realistic from an American in the Philippines. And Dumaguete to boot!

I spent 10 weeks in Dumaguete and 10 weeks in Isulan and I found most of the people to be good honest folks.

As for this American.

I'm surprised he is still in country. Not blacklisted or worse...NOT DEAD.

He has been blessed to have so much time and patience given to him from the Filipino people.

But they patience will run out soon. Then it's Katy bar the doors.

Thanks for the great blog I would like to add u to my blog roll.