ALVAREZ: SIARGAO LAND BOUGHT YEARS AGO
With regard to the news, “Speaker drawn to Siargao land-buying spree” (5/13/18), Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has categorically stated that he did not acquire properties in Siargao island in 2017.
He purchased some properties in Siargao when he was out of public service years back, hoping that these would appreciate in value over time.
The Assessor’s Office records showing him buying at least four properties in Siargao in 2017 could have been due to the ongoing “general revision” at the said office, thus the error. He also has several friends who were buying properties in Siargao and this could have been mistaken by many as his.
The Speaker laments how he was used by some property brokers in Siargao as part of their marketing strategy to bloat their prices and entice buyers by claiming that the adjacent property is his.
The Inquirer should have done rigorous factchecking to validate the information before publishing the story.
Those accusing the Speaker of any wrongdoing in this particular case are free to file the appropriate charges in court for him to respond accordingly. If they have no evidence at all, then they should refrain from peddling malicious innuendo and outright character assassination through media.
DARREN M. DE JESUS, head executive assistant, Office of the Speaker
———— It is clear in the story, quoting from his interview with Ms Funny Pearl Gajunera, that Speaker Alvarez denied he bought the properties in 2017. It is also clear that we tried to get his side but he did not pick up our calls nor reply to our text messages. I had assigned Frinston Lim to also contact his chief of staff, Edwin Jubahib, but Frinston did not get any response either.
The article only pointed out the facts and that included the Speaker's interest in Siargao, as he himself admitted having several properties there.
As to “rigorous fact-checking,” lawyer Darren de Jesus should reread the story. He might have missed the part where Speaker Alvarez spoke of the properties and when he acquired them. His line about the errors at the Assessor’s Office is also in the story.
ALLAN NAWAL, assistant bureau chief, Inquirer Mindanao