IN LAWSUIT TO CLEAR TITLE OF LAND ON CAPITAL HILL

2 siblings question why others are not included in suit

Siblings file in court declaration of their late father, deed of gift

The two siblings of Sen. Paul A. Manglona (Ind-Rota) question why the senator did not include their other siblings in his lawsuit against them over a disputed piece of land on Upper Capital Hill.

Priscilla M. Torres and her brother, Thomas A. Manglona, both administrators of the estate of their late mother, Bernadita A. Manglona, asked the Superior Court to include their other siblings as necessary parties in Paul Manglona’s lawsuit.

If not, the two asked the court through their lawyer, Samuel I. Mok, to dismiss the lawsuit for failing to include the other parties.

Mok said that Paul Manglona knew that six of the eight heirs of their late father, Prudencio T. Manglona, have a claim to the 4,181-square-meter land, yet he did not include them in his suit.

Mok said this is because, on July 26, 2013, Prudencio T. Manglona, conveyed the lot to all of his children as tenants in common via a deed of gift.

Mok said the deed of gift was notarized and recorded on Sept. 17, 2013.

Mok showed the court a copy of the deed of gift, which was notarized by Imelda R. Mendiola, and a copy of Prudencio T. Manglona’s declaration dated April 10, 2014.

In the document, Prudencio T. Manglona stated that the purpose of his declaration is to clarify his intentions with regard to the property.

Prudencio T. Manglona said that sometime in December 2013, his son, Paul Manglona, told him that he was being sued by the administrators of the Bernadita Manglona estate over the property.

However, Prudencio T. Manglona said, in January 2014, the administratrix of the Bernadita Manglona estate told him that Paul Manglona has not been sued.

He said it remains his position that the deed of gift he had executed on July 26, 2013, including the Upper Capital Hill property, is valid and enforceable.

Prudencio T. Manglona said he signed the July 26, 2013, deed of gift voluntarily and that he was conveying his entire interest in the property to his children.

He said it has always been his and his wife Bernadita Manglona’s intention to transfer their ownership in the property to their children, with each of them getting a 1/8 interest in the lot, containing 4,181 square meters.

Mok said that Prudencio T. Manglona, as spouse of Bernadita A. Manglona, had at least a 50 percent ownership interest in the lot since Bernadita A. Manglona acquired the property while they were married to each other.

Mok said in his complaint, Paul Manglona sued Priscilla Torres and Thomas A. Manglona in their personal capacities but did not sue the other five beneficiaries of the deed of gift.

The five are Vincent A. Manglona, Associate Justice John A. Manglona, Charles A. Manglona, the estate of Francisco A. Manglona (through his living heirs), and Prudencio A. Manglona.

Mok said the beneficiaries in the July 26, 2013, deed of gift have an interest in Paul Manglona’s lawsuit in that they each are claiming an individual ownership interest in the land.

The fact that Paul Manglona did not include them as defendants in his lawsuit impairs or impedes their ability to protect their ownership interest, Mok said.

Mok said the fact that the estate of Bernadita Manglona was named a party in this quiet title action does not provide the individual beneficiaries with adequate protection as their claim to ownership of the lot is independent and different from the arguments and claims being made by co-administrators Priscilla Torres and Thomas A. Manglona.

Mok said it appears quite appropriate that a quiet title action that fails to join known claimants to the real property warrants dismissal as it would be a waste of judicial resources to issue a judgment that is unlikely to actually “quiet title.”

Mok said Paul Manglona sued the wrong party by naming the estate of Bernadita Manglona as a defendant when the estate itself lacks capacity to be sued.

Sen. Manglona recently asked the court to issue an order to appear or file pleadings against anyone claiming any legal, right, title, or interest in the subject land.

Manglona, through counsel Mark A. Scoggins, asked the court to give defendants who have claims to the land 30 days to appear or file pleadings in his lawsuit.

“Such an order is appropriate in an action to adjudicate an interest in real or personal property when a defendant cannot be served within the Commonwealth,” Scoggins said.

The lawyer said the named defendants, Paul Manglona’s siblings Priscilla M. Torres, Thomas A. Manglona, and the estate of Bernadita A. Manglona, have been served and have filed their answers or other responses to the lawsuit.

Sen. Manglona is suing Priscilla Torres, Thomas Manglona, and his own mother’s estate over the disputed property in an effort to be declared the fee simple owner of the property, saying neither the estate of Bernadita Manglona, Torres, nor Thomas Manglona have any legal rights or claims to it.

Sen. Manglona said he is the fee simple owner of the lot by virtue of a deed of gift on July 11, 1985.

In their answer to the lawsuit, Torres and Thomas A. Manglona asserted that their mother’s signature had been was forged.

Torres had stated that they are just honoring the wish of their parents before they passed away—equal sharing of property for all their children, including Sen. Manglona.

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Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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