COA urged to check out Man­daue land deal

Manila Bulletin - - News - By BEN R. ROSARIO

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.

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