Mandaue City Mayor Luigi Quisumbing meets with the police over security preparations for the “Traslacion.”
Joy Torrejos
Luigi to sue rival over “undervalued” lot
Christell Fatima M. Tudtud (The Freeman) - January 8, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Mandaue City Mayor Gabriel Luis Quisumbing has ordered the city legal office to recover a property sold by the previous administration at a price allegedly “grossly undervalued.”

Quisumbing said he tasked the city lawyers to file a case against ECODEMCOR, an Ouano-owned company, to recover the more than 35,821 square-meter lot in Barangay Looc, Mandaue City that former mayor now Sixth District Rep. Jonas Cortes sold only for P1.8 million.

"Within this week, we expect the City Legal to file a case to recover the land," Quisumbing said.

The city legal office recommended in October last year to nullify the contract of sale entered into by the city government and ECODEMCOR on the ground of alleged "irregularities".

The sale allegedly did not have the approval of the Commission on Audit (COA). It did not also pass through appraisal to peg the value. The recommendation of the city legal office was in response to the City Council’s request to review the transaction.

The City Council requested a review of the sale after finding some conflicting documents. ECODEMCOR through its president Olga Ouano sent a letter to the city government on August 24, 2015 to make a formal offer to buy the property which was allegedly classified as "alienable and disposable."

The City Council, through the committee on laws and ordinances, then recommended the sale of the property. But the present City Council discovered that there were no records to show that the property was classified as “alienable and disposable.”

Lawyer Jamaal Calipayan, spokesperson of Cortes, said they would welcome any legal action from the city government. He said they are aware of the issue because it has been on social media.

"We welcome that move sa City Legal and City Government kay finally there will be a resolution ana nga issue," Calipayan said.

Cortes, who is running for mayor against Quisumbing in the coming elections, has been accused of committing actions inimical to the best interest of the city for selling the property at a very low cost.

Calipayan maintained that the previous administration was only fulfilling a contract entered into by its predecessor.

"We stand by the contracts entered in 2015. It was legal and binding to the city," Calipayan said.

Politicking

Calipayan described the move of Quisumbing as politicking considering that it is election season.

"Mao gyud among nakita (That’s how we see it). This issue was used and publicized before elections," he added.

In a statement, Cortes welcomes the filing of any case pertaining to the issue of ECODEMCOR.

"So that the issues being used to deceive the people of Mandaue will be fully ventilated and addressed in the proper forum," he said.

Quisumbing insisted that the land illegally sold was a crime.

"The city was defrauded in terms of a single transaction. Whether they feel it is political or not, naay nangawat, naay gikawat ug naalkanse ang dakbayan sa Mandaue sa nahitabo sa pagbaligya sa yuta last 2015 and I'm sure the people of Mandaue would like to see justice, "the mayor explained.

Quisumbing said he will use a portion of the property for socialized housing as soon as it is recovered by the city.

"Initially, we were informed by SAP Bong Go that the budget that was approved for the City of Mandaue was P1-billion. Which would have a construction of roughly 1,000 units of socialized housing," he said. (FREEMAN)

GABRIEL LUIS QUISUMBING
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