Marcos lots for sale: No takers
- Nikko Dizon () - June 11, 2003 - 12:00am
There were no bidders for three huge residential lots owned by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in Barangay Tambo, Parañaque in the public auction conducted yesterday by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

The BIR team, lead by Assistant Revenue District Officer Alejandro Polca, held the auction from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the lobby of the Parañaque City Hall.

By lunchtime, there had been only two inquiries and the lots were declared as forfeited in favor of the national government because there were no bidders.

Polca said his team did not receive any opposition from the Marcoses on the action, though former First Lady was informed of it through a letter delivered to her Pacific Plaza condominium unit in Makati City.

The Marcoses have a year to redeem their property from the government.

"The chances of them redeeming the property, I think, is nil considering the obligation involved," Polca said.

The Parañaque lots, located at Arias Compound and Villamar Court along Quirino Avenue in Barangay Tambo, are adjacent to each other and form an L-shape when taken together.

They are registered under the name of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, with Transfer Certificate of Title numbers 64208, 64209 and 64210.

Acquired by the Marcoses in September 1977, the lots have a total land area of 3,269 square meters, with a total estate tax of P22.685 million.

The Marcoses also owe the Parañaque government some P700,000 in unpaid realty taxes, Polca said.

The Marcoses reportedly occupied two mansions on the property when their eldest daughter, now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imee Marcos, was born. One mansion is now in ruins while the other, a three-story structure, is dilapidated.

BIR case officer Cynthia Catolico described the dilapidated mansion as "creepy." Made of adobe, steel and narra, it has 10 large rooms, eight bathrooms, a huge dining room, a dancing hall, and a mezzanine.

The roofing has cotton filling to prevent heat and sound from coming into the house, while in the kitchen was a food carrier with an electrical pulley.

The garage can house six to eight cars.

Catolico told reporters that the Parañaque lots was then a prime piece of real estate that afforded the mansion’s occupants a view of the Manila Bay.

Portions of the bay across the Marcos property have been reclaimed. The view is now obscured by a posh subdivision, a mall and a portion of the controversial President Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard (PDMB).

The caretakers of the Marcos property employed by the Presidential Commission on Good government have built temporary houses for their families on the Parañaque lots.

The Marcos property located at 204 M. Marcos St., San Juan, was also auctioned off yesterday. The late strongman was still single when he bought the 1,993-square meter lot in August 1951.

Another one put on the block yesterday was a five-hectare property in the Makati financial district, which used to house the International School. There were no bidders.

Properties in Mandaluyong and several lots in Currimao, Ilocos Norte were also put up for sale.

The whole estate has a combined zonal valuation of P112.4 million.

Imee refused to comment on the auction and instead referred the matter to her lawyer, Manuel Lazaro.

Lazaro said the Marcoses were saddened by the auction, but added that he could not comment extensively on it as he might be cited for contempt since the proceedings were sub judice.

"What is very saddening is the auction of the San Juan residence because it was acquired by the late President Marcos when he was still a practicing lawyer," he told The STAR.

"It was indisputably acquired out of the fruits of his labor."

He said the late Marcos planned to stay in the San Juan residence when he retired, and later bequeath it to his children.

Lazaro clarified that he represents only Imee and her brother, Ilocos Norte Gov. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

He added that he was told that friends of the Marcoses, particularly in Ilocos Norte, are planning to help the family recover the properties put under auction.

Proceeds from the auctions would have covered part of some P43 billion in tax liabilities of the Marcos estate. The government seized the assets after the heirs failed to pay the estate tax within six months after the former President’s death in 1989.

The estate originally owed the government P23 billion in taxes but this ballooned to P43 billion due to penalties and accrued interest.

Proceeds from sale would also be used to keep the 2003 budget deficit at below the targeted figure of P202 billion, Finance Undersecretary Eric Recto earlier said.

Separately, the Marcos family is contesting in the courts Marcos assets worth hundreds of millions of pesos, which the government wants to seize on allegations they were acquired with the use of money embezzled from state coffers.

‘Failed bidding’

The disposal of the 4.5-hectare International School property ended in a failed bid as not a single entity offered a bid yesterday.

"It’s a failed bidding," Finance Undersecretary Eric Recto said in the absence of any formal offer.

Recto admitted that the national government has an option of calling for another public bidding or undertake an "unsolicited proposal" to dispose the property valued at a fair market price of P1.9 billion.

Finance officials also admitted a failure the sale of seized Marcos properties or the ancestral home in San Juan.

"There were also no bidders that showed up," finance officials said. They however were still divided over the issue of holding another auction or take the negotiated sale route.

It is the second attempt by the national government of selling the IS and Marcos real estate properties.

In the case of former IS property, the government was disappointed since several corporations had expressed interest including Robinson’s Land, the House of Investments of the Yuchengco group, and two foreign groups said to be representing large land developers.

The Makati local government has ruled that only an institution permit will be issued for the property, which many believe may have been the reason for the withdrawal or non-appearance of the original groups.

On the other hand, the final outcome in the sale of the former deposed President’s real estate properties, which were seized due to tax liabilities remains in limbo.

The ancestral home of the Marcoses in San Juan and other pieces of property in Mandaluyong with an aggregate zonal valuation of P111 million; several pieces of lots in Currimao, Ilocos Sur with an estimated zonal valuation of P1,426,710; and about 2,500 square meter lot in Paranaque City.

Government data indicate that the Marcos clan owed the government about P23 billion worth in estate tax, which ballooned to P43 billion due to a P20 billion in penalties and accrued interest. Estate tax is required to be settled by the heirs six months after a person died before the BIR seizes the properties. With Paolo Romero, Ted Torres

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