After Balili case, Capitol board is ‘more careful’Cebu Daily News
After the Balili land anomaly, members of the Cebu Provincial Board are wary about rushing through any land project.
A P21 million outlay for the expropriation of lots affected by a road widening project in barangay Tayud, Consolacion in northern Cebu underwent scrutiny by the board yesterday.
Officials of the Provincial Assessor’s Office, Budget Office and the Provincial Legal Office were grilled on the allocation.
Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale said they want to make sure that the lots were assessed properly.
“We are really, really very careful now in the wake of the controversial Balili property purchase. That was a learning experience for us,” she told Cebu Daily News.
The board deferred action on an ordinance detailing guidelines and procedures on the procurement of real properties.
Its introductory paragraph said the ordinance was conceived in the wake of the Balili property case. “Instituting a systematic, definitive and clear-cut procedures and guidelines governing the purchase of real properties by Cebu is necessary to ensure that such transactions shall at all times be above-aboard,” the ordinance read.
In 2008, the Capitol spent P98.9 million to buy almost 25 hectares of beach front property owned by the Balili heirs in barangay Tinaa-an, Naga City. The discovery that most of it was underwater led to the filing this month of graft charges before the Sandiganbayan against Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and five other Capitol officials and two land owners.
The proposed ordinance also cited the role of the Provincial Appraisal Committee (PAC) in doing ocular inspections and verification of the condition of lots to be purchased and to submit a report on it.
During yesterday’s PB session, Provincial Attorney Marino Martinquilla, Carmelita Reyes of the Provincial Assessor’s Office and Asst. Budget Officer Danilo Rodas answered questions from the board on the lot expropriation in Consolacion.
Martinquilla assured there were no submerged lands involved. A total of 4,477 square meters of land is supposedly affected by the road widening.
But only 2,617.15 square meters are payable by expropriation since the rest of the affected land is covered by free patent of the government.
Martinquilla presented an appraised value of the lot at P610 per square meter to which PB Member Wilfredo Caminero said the market value s “too low”.
But Martinquilla said the lot owners already agreed on the market value when it was presented to them.
Carmelita Reyes of the Assessor’s office said the appraisal was based on the 2008 approved schedules of market value.
Martinquilla said the Municipal Planning and Development Committee (MPDC) of Consolacion identified the lots as all residential under their zoning classification.
Last year, the Provincial Engineering Office identified 278 lots to be affected by the road-widening project in Consolacion and Liloan towns.
About P50 million of the P379 million intended for the road-widening project was already turned over to the province.
The amount will be used for the first phase of the project covering 900 meters.
The widening will now pave way for a four lane road with each lane to be widened from 15 to 20 meters. /Carmel Loise Matus, Correspondent with Palompon Institute Intern Sheila Bilbao