FLI eyes court payment for lot
Jean Marvette A. Demecillo (The Freeman) - August 14, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Filinvest Land, Inc. wants to consign with the court its P2.45 billion payment for the 19.2 hectares of land at the South Road Properties it bought from the city when Michael Rama was mayor.

This after Mayor Edgardo Labella did not accept the payment FLI made on July 10 this year.

In a letter dated August 2, FLI executives informed Mayor Edgardo Labella and the City Council of its plan to consign P2,455,443,102, which represents the full payment for the lots under the Deed of Sale on Installment executed on August 7, 2015.

“Photocopies of the checks covering the said payment are hereto attached for reference. However, Office of the Mayor of the City Government of Cebu did not accept such payment,” a portion of the letter reads.

The letter was signed by FLI Senior Vice President Venus Mejia, Anesy Holdings Corporation President Necisto Sytengco II, and other officials.

The FLI plan was in the agenda in yesterday’s regular session of the City Council.

Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia referred the FLI letter to the City Legal Office for comments and recommendations.

Labella said he did not accept the payment because it was reportedly agreed during the term of Mayor Tomas Osmeña that the city and FLI rescind the contract of sale. Because of this agreement, FLI has not been paying the city for the past three years.

“They offered a mutual rescission of the contract with the former mayor. That could have been the reason why they did not pay a single cent during that time. Now, suddenly, they would make a change of heart?” Labella said.

“We have to be business-friendly but we have to protect the interest of the city,” Labella added.

Labella admitted FLI made the payment at his office last month but he knew about it only when his personnel handed to him the checks from the company.

He said he decided to return the checks to FLI since it should have been coursed through the City Treasurer’s Office.

He said FLI also needs to pay at least P400 million in interest owing to its failure to pay the city years ago.

Labella said he will ask the City Treasurer’s Office and the City Legal Office to look into the documents of the mutual rescission of the contract.

He said if FLI was serious in buying the property, said it should have consigned its payment with the court just like what the consortium of Ayala Land, Cebu Holdings Inc. and SM Prime Holdings did when former mayor Tomas Osmeña refused to receive its payment. The consortium bought 26.3 hectares also at SRP in 2015.

“Why consign only now when they manifested to rescind the contract before?” Labella asked.

When he won as mayor in 2016, Osmeña refused to accept payments from the giant firms, saying sales were invalid owing to several defects in the contracts, including the supposed absence of a resolution authorizing then mayor and now Vice Mayor Michael Rama to enter into and sign the Deed of Sale on Installment.

Osmeña was vocal in his intention to rescind the city’s contracts with these giant firms.

Only FLI agreed to have the contract rescinded while the consortium of SM, Ayala, and CHI decided to consign payment of at least P2 billion with the court. (FREEMAN)

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