A favored building

OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide (The Freeman) - December 6, 2020 - 12:00am

A little bird perched on my window sill and sang to me a disturbing song. It said that the Cebu City Council is poised to pass a resolution authorizing Mayor Edgardo Labella to sign a contract of lease of the former Jaguar KTV Bar. The bird enumerated a number of concerns that would rock the legal foundation of the proposed lease agreement as to subject the city and/or its officials to possible criminal prosecution under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

One. No OBO permit to repair or renovate. The bird told me that sometime last year, the owner of Jaguar KTV reportedly filed an application to repair the building. Allegedly as part of the process, the OBO requested the building owner to fill certain requirements. The owner reportedly failed and so the OBO returned the application without a permit being granted. In short, there was no permit to renovate the Jaguar building.

Two. Even if no permit to repair/renovate the structure was issued by OBO, repair was undertaken. Who made the repairs? According to the bird, it was the city which did the repairs and not the building owner. Cebu City manpower and equipment were seen doing the works. At what cost? I don’t know. And by whose authority were the repairs done? I also don’t have any answer. Just the same, there allegedly are photographs taken to prove this. If this is true, someone maybe criminally and administratively held liable unless, of course, such office as the Ombudsman prefers to remain idle.

Three. When the repair was completed, a lavish inauguration took place. Mayor Labella led the affair. Immediately, city personnel (meaning people under the employ of the Cebu City government) took over the entire building and assigned rooms among themselves. Again, according to the bird, these things can be shown by pictures. Now, these points must be raised. 1.) If no permit was issued to repair the building, could there be a subsequent Occupancy Permit to be given? 2.) Will the occupancy by city government employees be considered as curing the flaw?

Four. I live in Barangay Kasambagan. Jaguar KTV, when still operating as such pleasure and entertainment business, was located in Barangay Kasambagan. To my knowledge, it has not been moved to another place. When Kasambagan was created sometime in 1970s, its border with Barangay Banilad is and has always been the Mahiga Creek. Jaguar is certainly within Kasambagan. The proposed contract of lease of the Jaguar mentions it to be located in Barangay Banilad. Whew!

Five. The proposed contract of lease stipulates the rental at P500,000 a month. This rate, according to my friends in the real estate industry is much higher than those buildings in the Central Business District. Why? Jaguar, the KTV Bar was (and still is) located deep inside an area known to be classified as residential. In fact, the proposed contract situates the building on St. Michael Street. I know of St. Michael Subdivision not far from my humble home but I am not aware that the street itself is called St. Michael. In any case, why should the rental (per square basis) in a remote residential area be more expensive than a commercial downtown building? So, who fixed this rate which to me is prejudicial to the city?

Six. The building, now occupied by the city without a contract, is given a specific name. Who christened this facility? Pwede diay na nga bisag kinsa ray maghimo-himo og ngan sa usa ka government office? Pastilan!

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