WAS the 2015 multibillion sale of 45.2 hectares of prime property in Cebu City to three of the country’s biggest land developers carried out without a valid contract?
Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña raised the issue after Filinvest Land Inc. backed out from deal involving the sale of a 19.2 hectare lot in the South Road Properties (SRP) in Cebu.
A consortium of SM Prime Holdings and Ayala Land Inc. bought another 26 hectares in SRP.
“What I’m asking is: Where is the contract?” Osmeña told reporters, saying he had been asking the opposition-controlled city council about this for sometime now.
“I would like to ask the city council because I really question whether there is a valid contract,” he said.
“If the council doesn’t have it in the records, then there is no contract,” Osmena added.
The country’s three giant land developers paid P8.3 billion down payment during the term of former mayor Michael Rama.
The three won a public bidding at P36,000 to P38,000 per square meter.
The sale was closed at P16.76 billion.
Osmeña, however, remains cautious. “We have to proceed one step at a time. We have to study the situation first. There are many legal matters involved.”
“If there’s a contract of sale, so where’s is it? And the contract has to be approved by the city council. Let’s ask the question first, where is the contract that the council approved?” he said.
The SRP was developed and is owned by the City of Cebu with 300 hectares total lot area set on reclaimed land along the city’s east coast.
Osmeña said the city could have sold the lots at a higher price.
He, however, added that he is open to legalizing the rescission.
WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL