Philippine Daily Inquirer

GSIS rejects Sofitel operator’s offer

Proposed rental fee for 7,393-square-meter land found grossly disadvanta­geous to interests of the fund, members

- By Ben O. de Vera @bendeveraI­NQ

The Government Service Insurance has rejected an offer of the operator of Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila in Pasay City to pay monthly rental for the two lots that were the subject of an ejectment case filed by the state-run pension fund.

In a June 8 letter reply to Philippine Plaza Holdings Inc. president Esteban G. Peña-Sy, GSIS president and general manager Jesus Clint O. Aranas declined the Sofitel operator’s proposal to pay rent of P310,000 a month for lots 19 and 41 starting June this year.

The lots in question are being used by the hotel as valet parking space, site of cistern tanks and cooling tower, and a tennis court.

The GSIS found the offer too low.

“Your proposed monthly rental fee for the 7,393-square meter property covered by GSIS lots 19 and 41 amounts to only P41.93 per square meter. This is way below the prevailing lease rates of properties within the vicinity of Sofitel and surroundin­g areas,” Aranas said.

Also, Aranas said the offer did not include rental payments for the use of the said lots from 1991 to May 2018.

“We, therefore, cannot accept your proposal for being grossly disadvanta­geous to the interests of the GSIS and its members and stakeholde­rs,” he said in the letter.

The GSIS chief was responding to Peña-Sy’s letter also dated June 8 where he made the offer to pay rent for the lots beginning June. PPHI offered to increase the rate 5 percent every three years.

“You will recall that based on prior negotiatio­ns, the amount of P250,000 a month was considered reasonable rental for the use of lots 19 and 41, considerin­g that these constitute only a small portion of the area surroundin­g the hotel. Under the circumstan­ces, we believe the proposed rental is reasonable, considerin­g our long-standing business relationsh­ip,” Peña-Sy said.

The PPHI executive also asked that the terms of any agreement for the two lots be the same as those of the renewal of the amended lease contract in 2016 for land where the hotel stands.

“The present proposal is being offered for no other purpose than to buy peace and preserve the decades-long relationsh­ip between the parties,” he said.

To recall, the GSIS in May filed in the Pasay City Metropolit­an Trial Court a P147.2-million ejectment and collection complaint against PPHI. The GSIS wants to evict the hotel operator from the lots it was allegedly occupying illegally.

The GSIS earlier claimed the Sofitel operator had no lease contract with the GSIS for lots 19 and 41.

Aranas had said these two lots were not included in the existing 25-year lease contract signed on June 24, 2016 by the GSIS and PPHI for lots 30-A and 30-B, where Sofitel stands.

Even in the previous contracts between 1991 and 2016, lots 19 and 41 were not included in the premises leased by PPHI, Aranas had said.

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