Locsin: Kickbacks motive for push in sale of PH properties in Japan
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said he has opposed a renewed bid to sell the Philippines’ four real estate properties in Japan that were acquired as World War II reparations.
Locsin said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has sent a position paper to Congress opposing the sale, which he likened to another World War II attack “perpetrated by Filipinos on our own patrimony.”
He said those behind the sale had invoked the plight of war veterans to justify the push to sell the properties, but were in reality only after kickbacks from the sale.
“There is another plot to dispose of four of our Japan properties. This is a second Pearl Harbor perpetrated by Filipinos on our own patrimony,” Locsin tweeted on Monday.
“Dollar patriotism. Not while I am alive. Kaching, kaching. Disgusting!!!,” he continued, saying “the plight of our poor veterans, so few of them left, have been invoked by every gang of officials who’ve run through the budgets of their own agencies.”
“I will fight this to their end. Shet before I go down in ignominy as the guy who sold our Japan properties,” Locsin vowed.
The Philippine government acquired four properties in Tokyo and Kobe under the war reparation agreement with Japan on May 9, 1956.
The most prized of them is the Roppongi property in Tokyo, one of the most expensive piece of real estate in the crowded Japanese capital.
The 3,179 square-meter Philippine property on 306 Roppongi St. 5-Chome Minato-ku, Tokyo has survived several attempts to be disposed of either by sale or long-term lease.
In 1989 the administration of Corazon Aquino tried to sell it for $225 million, or nearly P6 billion at the time, with a big chunk of the purchase price reportedly going to payment of taxes to the Japanese government.
The late Vice President Salvador Laurel stepped in to stop the sale of the property which he called “priceless” since it was a “monument to the bravery and sacrifice of the Filipino people in the face of an invader.”
Laurel petitioned the Supreme Court which, on Feb. 20, 1990, issued a permanent restraining order and ruled that any sale of the property required a law passed by Congress.
“It is indeed true that the Roppongi property is valuable not so much because of the inflated prices fetched by real property in Tokyo but more so because of its symbolic value to all Filipinos—veterans and civilians alike,” the Supreme Court said.
“Whether or not the Roppongi and related properties will eventually be sold is a policy determination where both the President and Congress must concur,” the high court added.
The three other war reparation properties are:
- The 2,489.96 sq.m.-Nampeidai property at 11-24 Nampeidai-machi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
- The 764.72 sq.m.-Kobe commercial croperty at 63 Naniwa-cho, Kobe
- The Kobe residential property at 1-980-2 Obanoyama-cho, Shinohara, Nada-ku, Kobe.
Locsin disclosed last month that he has turned down all proposals for the sale of government properties abroad during the pandemic.
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