Land Management : Seminary Land Records Corrected
By Jasmine Stole
Guam Daily Post
March 18, 2016
The Department of Land Management corrected recording errors pointed out by former Sen. Robert Klitzkie three months ago and issued new certificates of titles for the Yona seminary property this week.
However, Klitzkie said the corrections were not done the right way. “The memorial is correct but the way it was done is not correct,” Klitzkie said.
In a news release, DLM officials said their department and the legal counsel for the archbishop of Agana settled on canceling the four certificates of title issued on Oct. 30, 2015 and issuing four new certificates of title to include the Declaration of Deed Restriction, in favor of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary, a non-profit organization.
The certificates of title issued on Oct. 30 were printed in the U’ Matuna Si Yu’os and were shown as evidence supporting that Archbishop Anthony Apuron is the “owner of the seminary property,” according to the article in the U’Matuna.
In the Oct. 30 2015 certificates of title, there is no Declaration of Deed Restriction listed under memorials. In the certificates of title for the same property Klitzkie obtained in December 2015, the Declaration of Deed Restriction is listed under the Memorials section. They were also listed in favor of Archbishop Anthony Apuron.
The most recent certificates of title issued this week also have the Declaration of Deed Restriction, but the “Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary of Guam, a non-profit corporation, and the Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores Catholic Theological Institute for Oceania” is in the “in favor of box” that used to have Apuron’s name in it.
“The archbishop, Monsignor David Quitugua and others have tried very hard to say, ‘Oh no, no, no. The archbishop still controls it,’” Klitzkie said. “It all goes back to the fact that back in November 2011 the archbishop gave the property away. Nobody even knew about the Declaration of Deed Restriction until January of last year.”
Attorney Jacques Bronze, hired by the Concerned Catholics of Guam to review the RMS property documents, opined that the Declaration of Deed Restriction is a “conveyance in fee simple.”
However, Attorney Jacqueline Terlaje has said the Declaration of Deed Restriction declares that the archbishop is the owner of the property, imposing on itself a restriction. “By imposing on itself a restriction, the archbishop, in the same way, can impose further conditions on himself as the owner of both the seminary property, and the seminary itself,” Terlaje said.
DLM Director Mike Borja said in the statement that the department “always strives to ensure the land recordation process is maintained with the highest integrity.”
A letter from Kristan Finney, assistant attorney general from the Office of Attorney General, said she met with legal counsel for the archbishop of Agana. Klitzkie said he met with Finney before who said she would have to meet with Jacqueline Terlaje and the former senator pointed out that Terlaje’s name was left out of Finney’s letter to Borja and Borja’s news release.
Finney said the DLM has the authority to issue new certificates as provided by Title 21 Guam Code Annotated Section 29160.
That section of the law states, “The production of the owner's duplicate certificate, whenever a voluntary instrument is presented for registration, shall constitute authority from the registered owner to the registrar to issue a new certificate or to make a memorial in accordance with such instrument and the new certificate or the memorial shall be binding.” In this case, DLM Director Borja signed as the registrar of titles for the new certificates.
Finney writes in her letter dated March 15 to Borja that no other action is needed.
Klitzkie said, however, that in the section of the law Finney cites, there is no use of the words “mistake” or “error” because that is not the purpose of that section of the law. Instead, the section Finney cited is to describe how memorials of charges against the law are memorialized, Klitzkie said.
Borja had written Klitzkie a letter in January that said DLM would petition the court to correct the certificates of title. “Accordingly, the department, specifically the Ex Officio Registrar of Titles, has prepared and forwarded a petition, and other associated documents, to the Office of the Attorney General of Guam with instructions for the petition to be filed in the Superior Court of Guam,” Borja wrote.
Klitkzie said he thinks the matter should still be resolved in court, as pointed out in the law. “This fooling around behind closed doors is how we go into this problem in the first place,” he said.
He said he will still encourage the issue to be handled in open court and will continue to request public files from the Department of Land Management. Recently, he’s been met with some resistance to obtain documents related to registrars, the former senator said.