For delaying development: Osmeña sued over SRP lots
The complainant, Apas Barangay councilman Ramil Ayuman said Osmeña should be held accountable for delaying the planned development of the consortium of SM Prime Holdings, Inc., Ayala Land, and Cebu Holdings Inc.
For delaying development: Osmeña sued over SRP lots
Jean Marvette A. Demecillo (The Freeman) - September 21, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña is facing a criminal complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly delaying the development of the South Road Properties (SRP).

The complainant, Apas Barangay councilman Ramil Ayuman said Osmeña should be held accountable for delaying the planned development of the consortium of SM Prime Holdings, Inc., Ayala Land, and Cebu Holdings Inc.

This reportedly led to the “loss of employment opportunities, inefficient use of government resources, and unnecessary expenditures.”

“Just recently, respondent (Osmeña), in his manifest fixation to delay the development of the SRP lots due to political indifferences, filed a Petition for Declaratory Relief to declare the sale of the aforementioned properties as invalid,” reads a portion of Ayuman’s 19-page complaint.

Sought for comment, Osmeña challenged Ayuman to prove his allegation.

“Let him submit his evidence. What sale is he talking about? It was not approved by COA (Commission on Audit). The property belongs to the City of Cebu. That is why I filed a case in court,” he told The Freeman.

Osmeña said the city officials are being asked to answer his petition for declaratory relief against Mayor Edgardo Labella, Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of Cebu, SM Prime Holdings, Inc., Ayala Land, Inc.,  Cebu Holdings, Inc., Filinvest Land, Inc., Filinvest Alabang, Inc.,Cyberzone Properties, Inc., Anesy Holdings Corporation, Igold Holdings Corporation, and Betterfield Phils. Corp. to prevent the city from using the proceeds it got from the firms.

For his part, Ayuman filed his complaint last Wednesday afternoon.

He alleged that Osmeña violated Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Section 3 (e) of RA 3019 states that “causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions.”

Ayuman said Osmeña’s action in stalling the development has resulted to the loss of 25,000 employment opportunities, based on the projected plans to develop the sold portions of SRP.

“More injury was incurred when the city of Cebu suffered from inefficient use of government resources based on the delay in the withdrawal of the initial proceeds of the contracts of sale of the SRP lots,” Ayuman said.

Ayuman said Osmeña acted with manifest “evident bad faith and gross inexcusable negligence” in stalling the project on the 26.3-hectare bought by the consortium in 2015 during the time of then mayor and now Vice Mayor Michael Rama.

Ayuman said the Court of Appeals already ruled in favor of the city government that the sale was valid and legal when the latter denied the motion for reconsideration filed by former prosecutor Romulo Torres who filed the first petition against the validity of the SRP lot sale.

Ayuman added that both CA and the Regional Trial Court Branch 9 sustained the validity of the ordinance and resolution authorizing then mayor Rama to dispose of the 45.5-hectare lots in 2015.

“Moreover, respondent (Osmeña), in his authority as the local chief executive (from 2016 to 2019) should have observed the established rule that a perfected contract of sale may not be invalidated by a City Council Ordinance,” Ayuman said, adding, that the contract between the city and the winning bidders created mutual rights and obligations.

Ayuman said that Osmeña utilized the interest income on the purchase price as source of fund for the local appropriations in 2016.

While Osmeña had been very critical of the questioned contracts, Ayuman said the former mayor’s allies in the City Council authorized him to use the interest income of the purchase price of the lot sale.

“The Supreme Court is consistent in maintaining that a party to a co tract cannot deny the validity of thereof after enjoying its benefits without outrage to one’s sense of justice and fairness,” reads portion of the complaint. —  JMO (FREEMAN)

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