Sale of prime gov’t property to SM legal, says ex-PCGG chief | Inquirer News

Sale of prime gov’t property to SM legal, says ex-PCGG chief

By: - Reporter / @TarraINQ
/ 01:06 AM June 26, 2011

A former chair of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) on Saturday insisted on the legality of the sale of a 12-hectare government-owned lot to a subsidiary of the SM Group in 2009, blasting his successor for “ignorance of the facts and the law.”

In a letter to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, former PCGG Chair Camilo Sabio said the sale of a prime state-owned lot along C-5 Road in Pasig City was legal and undertaken through a compromise settlement which was upheld by the Sandiganbayan.

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“Instead of making baseless allegations, incumbent PCGG Chair Andres Bautista should immediately commence action contemplated by him,” Sabio said.

“I have no doubt whatsoever that the PCGG under his leadership would again be rebuffed by the courts for ignorance of the facts and the law,” added the former PCGG chair.

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On Tuesday, the PCGG filed an adverse claim before the Pasig City Register of Deeds to stop the transfer of the lot owned by Meat Packing Corp. of the Philippines (MPCP), which the latter had leased to Philippine Integrated Meat Corp. (Pimeco) under a lease-purchase agreement. The PCGG also intends to file an appeal before the Sandiganbayan seeking to void the compromise that paved the way for the sale.

The lease-purchase agreement between Pimeco and MPCP, a subsidiary of the Government Service Insurance System matured in 2009, giving Pimeco purchase rights.

In an earlier statement, SM said the purchase of the lot by its subsidiary, Consolidated Prime Development Corp., from the MPCP was aboveboard, adding that it had complied with the legal requirements and formalities.

SM said the deal was consummated following the Sandiganbayan’s approval of a settlement among the PCGG, Pimeco and Peter Sabido, the controlling shareholder of Pimeco.

The current PCGG chair said the lot, worth roughly P4.3 billion, was sold for only P1.1 million, which it claimed was grossly underpriced.

Bautista called the transaction a “midnight deal” while PCGG Legal Department Commissioner Gerard Mosquera said the sale was “fraudulent” and “grossly disadvantageous to the government.”

“The decision of the PCGG under my leadership was legally and morally correct,” Sabio said.

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He said the past PCGG administration pursued the settlement as such is “encouraged,” adding that the parties involved “had expressed their desire to settle and put an end to the litigation.”

Bautista has declined to comment further.

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TAGS: Government, PCGG, Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), properties, Sales & Purchases, Sandiganbayan, SM Group
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