Saturday, January 19, 2013
Another look at the MC Adore sale
By DAVE PARAGAS
Last week, Dagupeňos were treated to an “excessive dose” of news about the historic MC Adore sale, which drew mixed reactions from various quarters.
Some comments were politically smart, while others were noticeably intended to fill the empty air with faulty logic and divisive statements.
Let’s take a closer look at the events and “circumstances” leading to the sale. In 2002, the ‘idle and derelict’ property was bought and paid for by the city in five (5) equal annual installments without interest totaling P50 million during Mayor Benjamin Lim’s first term.
The purchase of the property drew opposition from Lim’s critics, notably Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez who described the mayor’s project as a “white elephant” and a city’s financial burden. On October 3, 2011, Lim wrote the vice mayor and Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) members asking them to give him an authority to sell the MC Adore property, reasoning out that the budget will be used for sensible and pressing city projects.
On April 20, 2012, the SP majority adopted a resolution authorizing him to initiate the sale of the property while VM Fernandez was out of the country.
Four months later, Ravanzo filed a special civil action vs. Lim and the nine aldermen, questioning the validity of the resolution. Despite the case filed by the city secretary and the strong opposition thrown by the SP minority led by the presiding officer, the SP's majority bloc managed to affirm and confirm Lim’s authority to sell the McAdore and a parcel of land in Talibaew, Calasiao by adopting in a regular session Resolution No. 6809-2012 on October 1, 2012.
The nine councilmen who voted in favor of the resolution were Karlos Liberato E. Reyna IV, Ma. Librada Fe M. Reyna, Jesus D. Canto, Marc Brian Lim, Redford Christian P. Erfe-Mejia, Luis M. Samson, Alvin T. Coquia, Guillermo P. Vallejos and Chester Gonzales. On December 7, 2012, the case filed by Ravanzo and his lawyer, Atty. Borromeo Bustamante was denied due to their failure to appear before the court. But days later, Ravanzo filed a motion for reconsideration, praying to restrain Lim from selling the properties on December 17, which Judge Torio granted on December 14, 2012.
The mayor's letter dated October 3, 2011 to VM Fernandez said, “It has come to my knowledge that the vice mayor conducted her own research and study as to the actual value of the entirety of the MC Adore property. Based on confirmed media reports, your good office has openly stated that the property’s lot and building, at the very least, are valued at two hundred million pesos (PHP 200,000,000).” On April 24, 2012, VM Fernandez, in a radio interview, questioned the validity of the resolution, lamenting that the nine councilors (who have an obvious right to convene a special session) were just “misguided” or “misled.” In layman’s term, the word misguided or misled when used to describe a professional will fairly mean that a person lacks the ability to use his own freedom of choice.
In other words, Ate Belen questioned the wisdom of the nine aldermen, making it known to the public that her decisions alone, when it comes to SP works, are ‘moral and legal,’ conveniently forgetting her publicized stand and comments that the MC Adore property is a white elephant, bulok, wala kwentang proyekto, or aksaya lang ng pera. After the hue and cry generated by the controversy, the truth finally came out, Now, our time tells us that the so-called white elephant has turned into something valuable, which might have prompted Ate Belen to sing another different tune. “Matibay ang building na yan kaya more or less aabot talaga ng 300 million.” “Para kang nagbebenta ng Mercedez Benz na ang worth ay 3 Million pero binebenta mo ng 50 thousand.” she added.
But my barber said, “Kung bulok yan, eh bakit ngayon sinasabi ng ating mahal na vice mayor na aabutin daw ng 300 million?” I told him that perhaps Ate Belen was really after the city's welfare, aware that my answers might not adequately address his anxieties.
My two cents worth
What’s beneficially true to us, especially to the poor, is the fact that the mayor and company did a fairly good job in converting the MC Adore property described by their political opponents as fit for the garbage bin into a huge and valuable cash – a whooping P69 million in profits earned by the city. It's all over, but the shouting by some disgruntled partisans.
Done with utmost transparency, there is no legal impediment that may restrain the mayor and the disposal committee from proceeding with the sale during the public auction last January 7.
Lastly, contrary to what was earlier reported, there was never an injunction to the sale being ordered by the court, because the judge only granted Ravanzo an application to file for an injunctive bond of P50,000,000 which he failed to do.