• Group to senators: Look into one-sided land deal

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    The Coalition of Filipino Consumers (CFC) on Sunday appealed to the Senate to look into a controversial joint venture agreement between IBC 13 and RII Builders-Primestate Ventures Inc. that  was earlier found by the Commission on Audit (COA) as disadvantageous to the government.

    Perfecto Jaime Tagalog, CFC secretary-general, in a statement sent to Senate reporters, said he is puzzled with Congress’ inaction on the issue despite  findings of COA about the supposedly one-sided deal.

    Tagalog cited the COA report on the IBC 13 deal stating that the land valuation is way below the actual value of the 4.4-hectare prime property in Quezon City.

    “The price per square meter of the property could be more than double the value that RII Builders pegged in the joint venture agreement. Obviously, the government is on the losing end  of the deal. These real-estate developers raped the government,” he said.

    The joint venture agreement  set the price of the prime property at P9,999 per square meter when the deal was sealed on March 24, 2010.

    But based on the average value of the land that was submitted by state auditors, the property bounded by Ayala Heights Subdivision and Capitol Golf Course, which are also situated in the area,  already was selling for P17,000 per square meter from 2009 to 2011.

    CFC said there was also an attempt to conceal  result of appraisal made by General Appraisal Company in 2000 that was more than double IBC13 agreed with under the joint venture agreement with RII Builders.

    Under the joint venture agreement, RPI-PVI will construct condominium buildings and will profit from selling the units.

    In return, the real-estate developer will pay IBC 13 a total of P728 million within two years from the signing of the deal.

    Senator Franklin Drilon, in 2010 was among those who questioned the deal and insisted that it was grossly disadvantageous because, according to him, of the P728 million RII will pay IBC 13,  only P278 million will in effect be received by the government.

    “The P728 million, which is made to appear as the government’s share in the revenue, is a farce because P450 million will be used to compensate R-II Builders,” he said then.

    But in a recent interview, Drilon admitted that he is not aware of what  transpired in the deal after he was informed that it has been reformed.

    “After that, I no longer got any information, they have presented to me the changes made, but otherwise I could not recall anymore what [they were],” the Senate President said.

    The CFC, meanwhile, is appealing to the Senate to look to look into the issue and help bring out the truth about the questionable deal.

    The group said the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media headed by Grace Poe and the Senate Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises headed by Cynthia Villar could investigate the matter.

    Tagalog called on the Office of the Ombudsman to fast-track filing of a criminal complaint against officials of the Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation (IBC 13) and R-II Builders Inc.-Primestate Ventures Inc. (R-II Primestate) filed by the Field Investigation Office (FIO).

    The FIO, in its investigation, found that the execution of the joint venture agreement allegedly caused undue injury to the government in the amount of P254,843,401 representing the difference between the COA valuation and the JVA valuation of the 36,401-square meter property that purportedly gave unwarranted benefits to R-II-Primestate.

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