COA urged to check out Mandaue land deal
The Mandaue City’s legal office has recommended the nullification of the sale of 3.5 hectares worth R429 million of reclaimed land, saying the deal is “grossly disadvantageous” to the city.
The sale was made during the term of former mayor Jason Cortes who is now a congressman.
The city legal office, headed by Omar Radula, said the Commission on Audit (COA) should look into the sale.
Cortes approved the land deal based on a Promise To Sell entered into by former mayor Thadeo Ouano and then-lessee Ernesto Ouano Sr. in 2001.
Under the deal, the city-owned property was sold to ECODEMCOR for R50 per square meter, or a total of R1,791,050 for the entire property.
On August 24, 2015, ECODEMCOR, through its president Olga Ouano, informed Cortes it will exercise its right of first preference under the Promise To Sell.
The mayor forwarded the offer to the city council the following day, allegedly without first determining if the land has been classified as alienable and disposable and without consulting the City Auditor or City Assessor.
On September 16, 2015, the council approved the sale. Two days later, Cortes signed the Deed of Absolute Sale.
The legal office insists the land deal caused “economic prejudice to the city.”
“Sales data prepared by the City Assessor’s Office, based from purchases made from 2011 to 2015 for lots similarly located, shows that the appraised value is at R4,580 per square meter, far off from the R50 per square meter purchase price made by ECODEMCOR,” the lawyers said in their report
They also said the Promise to Sell is not legally binding because Ouano had no authority from the city council.
The lawyers recommended that the contract be annulled.
For approving the land deal, Cortes has been charged with plunder by Mandaue community leaders Bernard Antonio M. Cabatingana and Analyn A. Maquilan.