‘SM Prime bullying Capitol’

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

NEGROS Occidental Fifth District Board Member Alain Gatuslao accused property giant SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPHI) of bullying and putting pressure on the Capitol as evidenced in the series of cases it filed against the Provincial Government pertaining to its 7.7-hectare land deal with Ayala Land Inc. (ALI).

"We feel like we are being pressured and bullied by SM Prime Holdings Inc. so they can get what they want," said Gatuslao, who chairs the Provincial Board’s committee on laws and ordinances.

He said that because of the series of cases filed by SM Prime, the Provincial Government incurred losses in income and job opportunities in the past three years that the Capitol properties were left undeveloped.


"We can't allow private interest to overrun the public interest of the government," Gatuslao said.

He added that the Provincial Board, which is also a respondent to the latest case filed by SM Prime, will first file a civil case for damages for malicious prosecution and then the criminal case will follow.

The case will be filed two weeks from now, Gatuslao said.

The latest case filed by SM Prime is a petition for the declaration of nullity of the deed of conditional sale and contract of lease between the Provincial Government and ALI. It was filed by Edgar Ryan San Juan, vice president of the SMPHI Legal Department, before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Bacolod City on May 21, and is now handled by RTC Branch 48.

The respondents include Gov. Alfredo Maranon Jr. in his official capacity as governor and chairman of the Committee on Awards and Disposal of Real Properties, as well as its members, including Third District Board Member Patrick Lacson, Assistant Provincial Legal Officer Mary Ann Manayon-Lamis, Provincial Treasurer Nilda Generoso, Provincial General Services Officer Lucille Pines, Provincial Assessor Merlita Caelian, Provincial Administrator Enrique Pinongan, and Provincial Engineer Ernie Mapa.

The SMPHI claimed that the Province of Negros Occidental through the governor and the committee on awards and disposal of real properties, fraudulently circumvented the law on disposition and lease of local government owned real estate by executing the deed of conditional sale and contract of lease in favor of ALI for the 7.7-hectare property.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 03, 2014.

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