In defense of MCIAA officials

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila - The Freeman

I have an emailed letter in response to the news article that once again, Mr. Cisologo Saavedra has filed a complaint against officials of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority regarding an alleged anomaly in the purchase by MCIAA of a 42,329-square meter lot amounting to P590 million. Mind you, Mr. Saavedra isn't exactly new in his self-proclaimed role as a whistler blower. When we were still in MCIAA, he made it his quest to find anomalies within the airport facility but ended empty handed. So we ask, what's new in this case?

But before I make my comments on this issue, allow me to reprint the letter sent by my good friend, Engineer Pericles "Ricky" Dakay, MCIAA private sector representative. It is self explanatory. Here's his letter in full:

"Sir: This pertains to the recent Ombudsman complaint filed by Mr. Crisiologo Saavedra against MCIAA officials, including the undersigned, which is now becoming more prominent in the headlines of the various local dailies. Mr. Saavedra reportedly called for a formal investigation with the Office of the Ombudsman on an ALLEGED anomaly on the purchase by the MCIAA of a 42,329-square meter lot located at Bankal and Buaya, Lapu-Lapu City amounting to PhP 590 million.

Notwithstanding the fact that the MCIAA will formally answer the said complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman, please allow the undersigned to take this opportunity to appraise you, as one of the most respected journalist in Cebu, for better information, to wit:

1.As the report and Complaint shows, the payment by the MCIAA of the property was pursuant to a Compromise Agreement as approved by the Court of Appeals (CA) and duly conformed by the Office of the Solicitor General (SolGen). We wish to emphasize that this case is just one among the several cases on record that the MCIAA has amicably settled with a claimant-party/ies among which is the Fernan case which was amicably settled cases were all above board. Thus, the undersigned is puzzled why this case has been singled out by complainant of Saavedra.

2.Settlement was sort of a "midnight deal" when newly elected President Duterte is about to assume office last June.  This case has long started around the year 2001 before the RTC in Lapu-Lapu City before it went up to the Court of Appeals on Appeal by the MCIAA. The settlement arose after proceedings before the Court of Appeals and also bearing the approval of that court and conformed by no less than the SolGen. Further, the MCIAA officials who are included as party-respondents to the Complaints, the undersigned included, are still officers and officials of the MCIAA.

3.Contrary to the malicious insinuation of Mr. Saavedra, the MCIAA and the government in fact has been so much at an advantage upon final settlement of the purchase as approved by the CA and the SolGen. The property is a prime property, located near Waterfront Hotel-Mactan, including the road leading to the present airport.

4. The property's current market value was assessed by reputable appraisers such as Cuervo Appraisers which determined the market value to as high as P20,000/sq.m. From the determined market value, the sellers initially agreed to a lower price of about P700 million, but upon review by the undersigned and the Board, the price was lowered to P590 million, which actually resulted to a savings by about more than P100 million. Even the Complainant has admitted in his Complaint that the BIR Zonal Value is set at P9,000/sq.m. and we all know that the market value of a property is higher than the BIR zonal value. Consequently, the claim of Complainant and this Anatalia Booc and her alleged financier that the price should have been P3,500/sq.m. is highly doubtful and solely meant to put the MCIAA in a bad light.

5.The records of the MCIAA will show how Complainant Mr. Saavedra has tried many times to enter into business transaction with the MCIAA thru bidding, but failed, which makes us think of the apparently dubious motives of Mr. Saavedra in the filing of this baseless Complaint as a "taxpayer" when he may just have some axe to grind against the named public respondents, officials and officers of the MCIAA. The undersigned hopes that this letter will help your good self as a respected journalist better informed of the present controversy. Thank you and more power your column. Very truly yours, Pericles P. Dakay, Ph.D. MCIAA Director, StratCom Chairman."

Let me point out as a former private sector member of the MCIAA, I have yet to see a private sector member committing any anomaly before, during, and after my time. Most of all, I have full confidence in the person of Engr. Ricky Dakay one of the most upright citizens that I have ever known. He is not only a philanthropist but honestly, he doesn't even need the money. So what is Mr. Saavedra trying to do? Dishonor him? He is gravely mistaken. I will vouch for Engineer Dakay's integrity!

[email protected].

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