LIM CONFIDENT “SELLOUT” IS LEGAL
THE controversial MC Adore issue further sizzled when the disposal committee formed by Mayor Benjamin Lim, and to which he appointed himself chair, proceeded with the sale of the property on January 7, two days before Acting Judge Emma Torio of Branch 42 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) issued a writ of preliminary injunction stopping any action on the property.
The order of Torio stems from Civil Case No.. 2012-0010 seeking Declaratory Relief regarding the validity of Resolution No. 6738-2012 passed by the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) of Dagupan City during a controversial special session called by Lim on April 5, 2012 while Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez, chair of the SP, was in the United States on an official visit.
Lim is brushing off the court order saying he received it two days after the sale.
“As far as I am concerned, it has been done, it does not matter. It won’t affect what has already come to pass,” said Lim in a press release issued January 10 by the city hall.
Lim also asserts that he pushed through with the sale of the property after the lapse of the temporary restraining order and no writ of preliminary injunction was received.
The property was won in the bidding by one AMB ALC Holdings & Management Corporation with an offer price of P119 million.
In her order, Judge Torio said that after a careful consideration of the allegations in the complaint and the evidence presented by the petitioner, “the Court resolved to grant the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction.”
However, the Court asked the petitioner, Ryan Ravanzo, secretary of the SP, to file an injunctive bond of P50 million subject to the its approval.
Ravanzo was on his way to Pagadian City in connection with his function as national president of the Philippine Jaycees when the Writ of Preliminary Injunction was issued and was not due back in Dagupan until the evening of January 11, Friday.
Contacted by THE PUNCH by phone for his comment, he said the P50 million injunctive bond sought by the court is too much but he said he will consult his lawyer, Atty. Borromeo Bustamante, upon his return.
CASE FOR CONTEMPT
Legal experts in Dagupan City, however, opined that the preliminary injunction issued by the Court effectively stopped all actions pertaining to the disposal of the property until after the whole issue is resolved.
This means a petition for contempt may be filed against Lim, members of the disposal committee and the councilors concerned who were responsible in bidding out the property and that a separate case of declaration of nullity of the bidding may be filed by any taxpayer of Dagupan City.
Other city hall observers believe the bidding was done in bad faith since the court proceedings were still ongoing to hear arguments for the petition for a preliminary injunction. City Hall said it will still file an answer to the injunction “with respect to the court’s action”.
City Administrator Vladimir Mata said it would be a big loss to the city if the sale of MC Adore is stopped as a result of the writ of preliminary injunction.
He said the proceeds from the sale are envisioned for the major projects of Lim, which “includes a lying-in clinic and the construction and repair of several public schools.”
A press release by City Hall stated that out of the four firms that expressed their intention to purchase of the properties, only three companies went on to the bidding proper.
LKY Development Corporation reportedly backed out minutes before the bidding was opened, leaving AMB ALC Holdings & Management Corporation, Top Forms Builders Inc. and Ciriaco Realty and Development Corporation.
Ciriano was disqualified from the proceedings when it failed to comply with all the requirements allegedly set forth in the bidding process.
The winning bidder reportedly submitted a performance bond amounting to 10 percent of the floor price of MC Adore, which is equivalent to P10, 628,300.
Benjamin Ramos, AMB ALC Holdings & Management Corporation chief finance officer who represented the firm during the bidding, said among the company’s plans is to restore the prominence and elegance of the former MC Adore hotel.
It is not known if the company will pursue its bid in the face of the writ of preliminary injunction issued by the court. (with report from the CIO)