It is everybody’s knowledge that documents can easily be faked in the Philippines. From birth certificates to college diplomas, such materials can quickly be passed off as exact copies.
It has been well-known not just in the country, but also overseas. Workers from the Philippines lead in the number of submitted bogus documents in Saudi Arabia that POEA has been reminding job applicants to use genuine materials.
In the property sector, there are regulations in place to deter scammers who prey on legitimate property owners; there are still cases reported where property buyers are lured into buying lots but receive a fake certificate of land titles. Part of the problem is that buyers are unaware of the tell-tale signs of a phony document being presented to them. As an example, a news release by Inquirer told early 2015 about the arrest of members of a syndicate engaged in sale and mortgage of fake titles.
Before you could get trapped by similar bogus sellers, Ms. Ruby Valdez, a land registration examiner from the Land Registration Authority of the Philippines, advises on the following quick-check items to verify if a document is fake or genuine.
Physical appearance of land title
- The paper used for an authentic certificate of land titles is of a special kind and supplied by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Hence, its texture is different from those commercially available papers.
- The texture of the genuine title is similar to that of a bank check.
- It has a watermark that says, “LRA.”
- The color of an old version of the title is light yellow, while that of an e-title is pale straw.
- When subjected to UV light, tiny fibers in the paper emit a small fluorescent effect.
- “Judicial Form No. 108-D” appears on top of an Original Certificate of Title.
- “Judicial Form No. 109-D” appears on top of a Transfer Certificate of Title.
- Serial numbers are printed in red color while the owner’s duplicate should display black digits.
- The last two digits of the page number in the upper right-hand side should correspond to the last two digits of the TCT number.
- The red/blue border should be slightly embossed and not flatly printed.
- For e-Titles, all entries should be computer encoded and printed, unlike the old versions which were manually type-written
- The seal on the lower left-hand side should be dark red and does not blot when a little water check is done.
- for Judicial OCT, it should have two names present – the Administrator and the Registrar, while for TCT, only the name of the Registrar is current.
- For Administrative Titles: one signature from a PENRO or CENRO officer and another from the registrar.
Having these preliminary tests should give you an idea of the type of document you are receiving: original or fake. If you have verified from the above list that the text appears genuine, it does not mean it is 100% authentic. You need to confirm with relevant agencies such as the Land Registration Authority, the Registry of Deeds, or the nearest local and municipal offices to the property location.
Although the step is straightforward and the amount of time to invest in verifying this document’s authenticity is barely a minute, it is not a guarantee the certificate of land title is genuine. A modern and convenient way to secure your ownership is through e-titles.