PRA threatens to sue Times over ‘P41-B land sale’ news item

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YOUR news article published on February 22, 2015 entitled “Plunder charges filed over P41-B land sale” by Jing Villamente suggested that the Office of the Ombudsman had filed a plunder case against the current Board of Directors of the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA).

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However, this piece failed to note the following:
1. Whether the Ombudsman had determined probable cause to warrant the filing of any case against the PRA or its Board members on the basis of a complaint raised by the United Filipino Consumers and Commuters (UFCC) and Water for All Refund Movement (WARM). Neither the PRA nor the individual Board members have received an order or a copy of the complaint from the Ombudsman;

2. That the 1988 sale transaction entered into by the Public Estates Authority (now PRA), which gave rise to the complaint filed by UFCC/WARM, is the subject of an intercorporate dispute, which is already in the courts;

3. That at the time when Uniwide Sales Realty and Resources Corporation (USRRC) came out with a paid newspaper advertisement appealing, for the first time, to the present PRA Board and Management to take back the property sold to the Manila Bay Development Corporation (MBDC), there was already a pending civil case against MBDC and PRA on the same issue, which thus prevented the PRA Board from taking action;

4.That since the original transaction twenty seven (27) years ago, the composition of the PRA Board has changed several times under the last five (5) administrations; and

5.That the current members of the PRA Board assumed office only in 2010 or later.

Such carelessly written article raises the suspicion that it was intended to damage the integrity and credibility of the PRA and its current Board members. The misleading and damaging story has later also surfaced in other publications and in social media. We are now consulting with lawyers on the action we must take to obtain appropriate redress for the PRA and its Board members.

In the meantime, we ask that you give this statement the same space and prominence given to the original article in your publication. This would be a welcome, if inadequate, sign that the article did not maliciously intend to defame the PRA and the current members of its Board.

ARNOLD C. MORALEJO
Corporate Attorney V & Acting Corporate Secretary
Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA)

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