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Osmeña clarifies: Mall at SRP will remain open

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña clarified that he will not close the whole SM Seaside City at the South Road Properties but the businesses managed by SM inside the mall.

“I want to clarify one thing. I have enough reasons to shut down SM Seaside but I will not do so for the tenants who are there. But the SM store, I will, but not the tenants. Their propaganda now is I will shut down the whole mall, I will not shut down the whole mall. I will only shut down the SM businesses there which is the store, the collection of pay parking, so libre na ang parking,” he told reporters.

Osmeña said he does not know when he will order the closure of some businesses inside the mall considering a pending case against him, City Treasurer Tessie Camarillo and City Engineer Josefa Ylanan.

As stated in the civil case, SM Prime Holdings, Inc. said that the mall and its tenants are suffering “grave and irreparable damage.”

SM Prime Holdings, Inc., Shopping Center Management Corp, and SM Lifestyle Entertainment, Inc, through the Accra Law Firm, asked the court to compel the Cebu City Hall to process and issue its business permits.

 “Absent the business permits, the threat of Mayor (Tomas) Osmeña to shut down SM Seaside is real and imminent,” read the petition.

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SM has paid a P2-million bond to the court for the restraining order. SMPHI, SCMC, and SMLEI filed the petition for mandamus and prohibition against Osmeña, Camarillo and Ylanan.

On November 2016, the city also filed criminal complaint against the officials of SM Prime Holdings Inc. for alleged tax fraud.

Osmeña said SM Seaside City is also facing other violation of the National Building Code of the Philippines. Osmeña alleged that the mall management failed to declare parts of the building such as the basement, pavement and roof deck under its tax declaration which is the basis for the payment of the real property tax.

 The mayor is referring on the 30.4-hectare property bought by SM in 2009 where SM Seaside City stands. The mayor also said the city government has observed that the buildings at SRP violated Section 804 (1) of the National Building Code.

SM declined to issue statement as of press time. But there is an ongoing adjustment of the setback issue of the mall.

Osmeña said the setback issue was pointed out by the Department of Public Works and Highways during the previous administration.

“They can’t say that I have something to do with it. Now, the point is, I’m against the sale of the (45.2-hectare) property. Why I’m running after them on another reason? why not?! I’m motivated,” he told reporters.

Meanwhile, Osmeña disclosed that the city government is finalizing its documents and papers supporting the case to be filed against another branch of BDO Unibank in Cebu City.

“Ang iyang (BDO branch) bayranan kada tuig P35, imagine P35 a year?! Arang-arang ang Magallanes. Ang mga empleyado, grabe ang deductions. Alkanse gyud mi,” he said.

Osmeña said a branch of BDO on Osmeña Boulevard declared P52,000 gross revenue for 2014 and P7,000 gross revenue for 2015. The bank declared P2.3-million gross revenue last year.

Last January, he sued BDO-Magallanes branch for alleged falsification of documents showing their gross sales.

Osmeña said the second case is “easy” compared to the Magallanes branch. As of now, the city government cannot close the Magallanes branch after the court has issued a temporary restraining order. (FREEMAN)

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