After a successful bidding for 2 separate lots in the South Road Properties (SRP) that reached sales of more than double of what was expected, the downpayment ceremony supposed to be held last Friday, August 7, 2015, was cancelled and the SM-Ayala consortium and Filinvest Land, Inc. are withholding the payment worth P6.7 billion. This came about when the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) raised concerns on Mayor Michael Rama’s authority to sell the lots, which would affect the validity of the sale.
Allegedly, Mayor Michael Rama did not honor the Cebu City Ordinance 2332 which requires SRP lots to be sold only through “unsolicited proposals,” as reported by the Philippine Daily Inquirer. On the morning of the downpayment ceremony, Mayor Rama was still positive that it would push through, saying, “There’s nothing for anyone to stop the whole process. We will pray that everything will be okay. That’s it as far as the executive is concerned. With my city legal office, the next thing to do is just to continue the process. The most important thing is I will have to abide with what we started. Everything has been complied with. Are they thinking of a better setup? As mayor, and a lawyer I cannot see any legal ground why such action shall be forestalled.”
But the mayor reportedly flew to Manila the day before to talk with one of the winners of the bidding to push through with the payment. The mayor refused to confirm, however, and gave a vague answer, “Secret. It’s all related to everything in the world. I’ll just bring my report in due time.”
The three developers had already paid a total of P1.7 billion in bonds as part of the downpayment prior to the ceremony. Councilor Sisinio Andales said that “If the opinion of the DILG will not be revoked or reversed then the bidders may ask for the return of the P1.7 billion bond considering that the basis of public bidding which is the resolution had been declared that it can not validly amend or supersede ordinance 2332, hence, invalid and unlawful.”
Councilors opposing Mayor Rama’s actions passed a resolution last August 5, Wednesday to postpone any actions regarding the sales of the lots.
Photo credits: Hanging Rice