Cebu News

Mandaue asks court to nullify P1.8M lot sale

Christell Fatima M. Tudtud - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The Mandaue City government has filed a civil case seeking to nullify the sale of the 35,821-square meter property in Barangay Looc to E. C. Ouano Development and Management Corporation (ECODEMCOR) in 2015.

Arguing that the sale was grossly disadvantageous to the city government, Mayor Gabriel Luis “Luigi” Quisumbing and Vice Mayor Carlo Fortuna yesterday filed the petition for annulment of the deed of sale before the Regional Trial Court.

"It's important for us to be able to set actions right so that we will be able to recover the property for the benefit of the future generation of Mandauehanons," Quisumbing said.

Quisumbing said his vice mayor accompanied him to show to the people that they are united and that they are opposed to what he described as corruption. The mayor said the sale of the property at P50 per square meter or a total price of P1.8 million by his predecessor, now sixth District Rep. Jonas Cortes, was anomalous.

"We will no longer tolerate the corruption that has plagued City Hall for so long and we will make sure that this will be the first step in cleansing City Hall," Quisumbing said.

"So many violations were committed in the sale of this land. Gani sa presyo pa gani, kanang diha pa, sayop gyud ang pagbaligya sa yuta na tag P50 kada square meter is really a ridiculous price," he added.

The Mandaue City Council earlier authorized Quisumbing to recover the property. Fortuna, who is the presiding officer of the council, said they do not condone the alleged illegal act by the previous administration. He said there were several conditions before the sale that were not followed.

"They knew very well nga mao ning mga conditions nga i-comply before the sale could be made. So there was clearly an attempt to go around the rules, around the law para mapadayon ni siya nga transaction nga alkanse gyud kaayo ang dakbayan sa Mandaue," Fortuna said.

It was the City Legal Office (CLO) that recommended the nullification of the contract of sale after finding "irregularities" in the documents. It was discovered that the sale did not have the approval of the Commission on Audit. It did not also pass through the appraisal committee of the city government to determine the fair market value of the property.

After yesterday’s filing of the civil case, Quisumbing vowed that there will be at least five to six corruption cases to follow.

"We will be releasing and filing appropriate charges against the persons that are responsible for the corrupt acts. About five or six large-scale corruption cases that we will be filing in the next few weeks," he added.

He said there were other questionable transactions that they discovered while investigating the lot sale. The mayor, however, did not reveal the details yet.

"Quite frankly, daghan naman gyud tang nakit-an nga transaction nga mura’g questionable gyud, unya over the last few months naabot man gud ang mga dokumento so we will be taking a look at it as time goes on," he said.

Quisumbing said he will focus first on the recovery of the property from ECODEMCOR.

Lawyer Jamaal James Calipayan, spokesperson of Cortes, earlier welcomed the filing of the case as this will give them the opportunity to answer the issue in the proper forum.

Calipayan stressed that all contracts entered into by Cortes in 2015 were "legal and binding." (FREEMAN)


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