By Ermin Garcia Jr.
OUR story on page 1 titled: “Who says MC Adore is only P119 million?” should send Dagupeños on a rage. (If it doesn’t I don’t know what will).
The documents obtained by the PUNCH show that Mr. Lim had personal and direct knowledge of the current selling prices of real estate particularly near the Malimgas Market. His deed of sale shows he sold his land, located approximately 200 meters away from MC Adore, to Landbank in 2005 at P35,000 per sq.m.!
Yet, he accepted (or did he order it?) the report of the appraisal committee he created that pegged the selling price of the land at P15,000 per sq.m. only. (Then by some measure of magic computation, COA amended and increased it to P18,500 and made the whole thing looked even more ludicrous)!
To disguise this abominable trickery, the city hall and its lapdogs in media are trumpeting that the city made a hefty “P69-M” profit when in fact the city lost at least P 95-M on the sale based alone on Mr. Lim’s own deed of sale for his property 7 years ago!!
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EXPLAIN TO THE OMBUDSMAN. This is a clear case of dishonesty on Mr. Lim’s part, clearly with the intent to defraud the city with a land sale that’s grossly disadvantageous to the city.
Whether there existed a conspiracy between Mr. Lim and the members of the appraisal committee is something for the Ombudsman to determine. But where I sit, the members, namely, Messrs. Vlad Mata, Alan Dale Zarate, Karlos Reyna, City Treasurer Romelita Alcantara, Assistant City Legal Officer Roy Laforteza, Nestor de Vera, Marcelo Prado, Eduardo Magno, Emmanuel Palaganas, Rolando D. Sabado of the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Association, Inc., Joel F. Santos of the United Architects of the Philippines- Pangasinan chapter, and Lelia Sy of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Metro Dagupan Chapter, must explain if, indeed, they were not part of the conspiracy from the very beginning.
Unfortunately for them, they will already be hard put to explain why they proposed to sell the city’s property based on zonal value and not market value as they would normally do to sell their own properties, and as Mr. Lim logically did for his own property.
One can only surmise why they did what they did and for whose benefit. Make one guess. Anyway, bahala na kayo lahat mag-explain sa Ombudsman!
Paging Mr. Leo Angeles, the city’s brave point man against corruption in Dagupan!
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COMPELLING REASON? What was it about the MC Adore hotel property that was so compelling as to prompt the Lim administration to rush the sale a la blitzkrieg?
Why did he have to herd the Judas 9 to hold an illegal session, manipulate the selling price through an appraisal committee, thumb its nose at Regional Trial Court Judge Emma Torio, then close the deal in spite of a preliminary injunction issued against Mayor Benjamin Lim et al.? One can only surmise what the urgency was about, why it risked all to sell it pronto!
Is a Yamashita’s treasure to be dug under the hotel building?
Does Mr. Lim want to replicate the Awai deal and the Metro Plaza deal so he can cash in on the MC Adore deal early on before his anticipated reelection in May?
Or does he know something we don’t know, like a possible suspension order by the Ombudsman as a result of the two cases filed by Mr. Leo Angeles, and he wants to pre-empt it?
Those are the only three scenarios that come to mind given the serious risks that Mr. Lim had taken over this deal. While the contempt charge against Mr. Lim et al was clearly anticipated as the events that took place indicate, it’s still a serious offense that can nullify the “done deal” that he wants the people to believe. Let’s see how Judge Torio will react to his contemptuous demeanor.
But wonder of all wonders, while most corporations shy away from deals that have legal complications, the AMB ALC Holding and Management Corporation rushed to own it. Why? What’s the deal?
But whatever, I sense that Mr. Lim will likely face another case before the Ombudsman over this reprehensible deal that was grossly disadvantageous to the city.
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A DISAPPOINTING CHIZ. The reaction of Sen. Chiz Escudero to the senate imbroglio is very disheartening and disappointing to say the least.
I had hope the true statesman in him will finally resurface after being busy with all his commercial endorsements and guesting in TV entertainment shows.
Many were taken aback when he told Karen Davila in her “Headstart” ANC TV program that the call for transparency and accountability in the senate by Sen. Alan Cayetano was actually just a “bickering about money.” Yet the Commission on Audit had earlier admitted that the practice of congress to merely certify to all expenses is irregular, so how could the issue be trivialized as mere bickering?
The whole thing was triggered by Sen. Cayetano’s question how Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile was liquidating senate funds that were being freely distributed to senators at the latter’s sole discretion, referring to the P250,000 cash gift that he and 3 others received while others received P1.6-M.
Is Mr. Escudero suggesting that the people need not know how the senate, and more specifically, the senate president, is dispensing people’s money? I sense a double standard in his judgment. He joined the majority in finding Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona guilty of graft and accountable for lack of transparency but would not join the call for accountability when it’s him and his peers are being called to the carpet.
How can he be believed now the next time he asks local government units and other bureaucrats to be transparent and accountable when he refuses to demand the same from himself and his colleagues? Sayang…that’s a lot of lost credibility much the same like Mr. Enrile did.
Then he said he found nothing wrong in Ms. Gigi Reyes’ statement insulting Mr. Cayetano and others in the minority calling them “hypocrites”. He said senators are insulted on Twitter by netizens so such name-calling and insults are nothing new but that the difference was Ms. Reyes did it on radio, not Twitter. Duh?
The difference lies not in the medium but in the decorum expected of government officials: Ms. Reyes was the chief of staff of another senator, not an ordinary citizen or taxpayer. One can imagine Mr. Enrile’s own reaction if another chief of staff of a senator called Mr. Enrile an “incorrigible thief and smuggler”” to his face and in public. I wonder if Mr. Escudero would still consider such misdemeanor “normal”?
Tsk-tsk…where is Mr. Cool coming from today? Where has he been? He’s not the erudite Mr. Escudero we used to know.