Negros Occidental gov unfazed by new case filed by property firm vs province

BACOLOD CITY, June 18 (PNA) -– Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Maraňon Jr. is unfazed by the filing of another civil case by property giant SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPHI) against the provincial government related to its 7.7-hectare property deal with Ayala Land Inc. (ALI).

Marañon said that if SM Prime will not stop filing cases against the provincial government, the province will also file a damage suit against them.

“It will be a litigant suit, it will be the people of the province that will file the case,” Marañon said.

On Tuesday, it was reported that SMPHI, through its vice president of the legal department Edgar Ryan San Juan, lodged a petition on May 21 for the declaration of nullity of the deed of conditional sale and contract of lease between the provincial government and ALI before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) here. The case was raffled off to the RTC Branch 48 on May 26.

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.

The court issued summons to Maraňon in his official capacity as governor and chairman of the Committee on Awards and Disposal of Real Properties as well as to 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, Provincial Engineer Ernie Mapa, members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, and the ALI.

The respondents were given 15 days to answer.

Moreover, Marañon said the people of the province are adversely affected by the SMPHI’s move of filing of cases against the provincial government.

The governor said he will seek billions in damages because the previous case filed by SMPHI has derailed the development program of the provincial government intended for the poor especially those in the countryside.

A litigant suit has no filing fee, he added.

Marañon said the development of ALI project on the leased property will continue despite the case.

The filing of another civil case by SMPHI came despite the dismissal of several claims and cases they filed against the Capitol and ALI property deal.

Last March 27, the Land Registration Authority (LRA) denied SMPHI’s appeal over its adverse claim on the 39 lots owned by the Province of Negros Occidental covered by the deed of sale and contract of lease.

RTC Branch 59 Judge Estefanio Libutan Jr. had also dismissed for lack of merit the certiorari filed by SMPHI against the provincial government on their assertion that they won the first bidding held for the sale and lease of the said Capitol properties.

Other cases pertaining to the land deal were also filed and dismissed by the Court of Appeals. (PNA)