City Hall may now use P2.5 billion SRP lot payment

City Hall may now use P2.5 billion SRP lot payment

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu City government may now use the P2.5 billion proceeds from the sale of South Road Properties lots after the court has granted the withdrawal of the civil case questioning the sale’s validity.

Atty. Rey Gealon, head of the Cebu City Legal Office, said his office received copy of the order to this effect from Regional Trial Court Branch 23 Assisting Judge Ester Veloso last week.

“The court’s order granting the withdrawal of this ‘midnight case’ renders justice to the people of Cebu City. Apart from the fact that the petition was patently flawed, it was also filed without merit. So it would have been dismissed, anyway,” Gealon said.

Mayor Edgardo Labella, for his part, said the city government is not barred from using the SRP lot sale proceeds because there is no legal impediment to it.

To recall, the members of the previous City Council asked the former City Legal Office to file the petition for declaratory relief with prayer for temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction.

The petition was filed afternoon of June 28, last official day, by previous members of the City Legal Office.

The petition for declaratory relief was filed against SM Primeholdings, Inc., Ayala Land, Inc., Cebu Holdings, Inc., Filinvest Land, Inc., Filinvest Alabang, Inc., Cyberzone Properties, Inc., Anesy Holdings Corporation, IGold Holdings Incorporation, and Betterfield Phils., Corporation over the 45.5-hectare lot purchased by them in 2015.

The consortium of Ayala Land, Cebu Holdings Inc. and SM Prime Holdings bought 26.3-hectare property at P10.009 billion while FLI bought the remaining 19.2-hectare property at P6.7 billion that year or during the time of then mayor and now Vice Mayor Michael Rama.

Under the present council, Gealon was given authority to file for the withdrawal of the case which was granted by the court.

“As prayed for by the petitioner, through counsel, in its Notice to Withdraw Petition for Declaratory Relief, the court deems the herein petition withdrawn,” reads portion of the order of Veloso.

Gealon said that there is no other case assailing the SRP lot sale aside from the one previously filed by Atty. Romulo Torres, which was already dismissed by the RTC and affirmed by the Court of Appeals.

“It does not, in any way though, affect the right of the city government to withdraw the consigned amount representing the balance of the proceeds of the SRP sale,” he added.

Last Tuesday, the administrative bloc of the City Council did not approve the request of City Councilor Nestor Archival to ask the executive department to look for other source of funds for the proposed P2.5 billion Supplemental Budget-2 which comes from the down payment of the SRP lot buyers.

Archival would have wanted to schedule an executive session discussing the validity of the 45.5hectare lot sale but it was also rejected by the majority bloc, who is allied to Mayor Edgardo Labella. — JMD (FREEMAN)


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