CA recognizes right to intervene in Paskuhan Village sale — solon

Gonzales: CA recognizes right to intervene in Paskuhan Village sale

/ 01:14 AM June 22, 2024

CHRISTMAS SPIRIT GONE   Paskuhan in the City of San Fernando, once described as the only Christmas Village in Asia, is now a picture of decay and neglect.  —TONETTE T. OREJAS village

CHRISTMAS SPIRIT GONE Paskuhan in the City of San Fernando, once described as the only Christmas Village in Asia, is now a picture of decay and neglect. —TONETTE T. OREJAS

MANILA, Philippines — Senior Deputy Speaker Aurelio Gonzales Jr. says that the Court of Appeals (CA) has recognized his right to intervene in the sale of Paskuhan Village, a parcel of land located near the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) exit in San Fernando, Pampanga.

Gonzales’ office on Friday released copies of the CA’s Amended Decision, which now recognizes that the lawmaker can intervene and file complaints regarding the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza) decision to sell Paskuhan Village to Premier Central Inc. (PCI) in 2014 for P939 million.

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According to the CA decision dated May 23, the case will be remanded to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 42 of San Fernando, Pampanga, and Gonzales’ motions will be discussed.

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This latest decision sets aside the previous decision issued last September 23, 2023.

“Here, the substantive issues raised by Gonzales in his petition such as the susceptibility of the controversy to compromise and the authority of the OSG (Office of the Solicitor General) to enter into a compromise agreement should have prompted the RTC to rule upon the Urgent Motion instead of ignoring or sidestepping it,” the CA said.

“Accordingly, the Motion for Reconsideration dated October 17, 2023, is granted.  The decision dated September 13, 2023, of this Court is reconsidered and set aside,” the CA added.

Gonzales meanwhile said he is happy with the CA decision, as it allows concerned citizens to push for the return of Paskuhan Village to government ownership — particularly, the City of San Fernando.

“I am happy and thankful that the Court of Appeals has recognized my right to intervene as a lawmaker, a taxpayer, and a concerned citizen,” Gonzales said in a statement.

“We can now pursue the return of this cultural heritage property to the government, the province of Pampanga, and the city of San Fernando. It should not have been sold in the first place, and its sale was even grossly disadvantageous to the government,” he added.

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Paskuhan Village used to be the only theme park in Asia where Christmas is celebrated year-round.  It is also the site for Pampanga’s famous giant lantern festival.

READ: Paskuhan Village: Decaying heritage site

Redevelopment of the Paskuhan Village has been stalled after several government personalities, including Gonzales, contested the sale of the property to PCI.

In 2020, PCI donated a portion of the Paskuhan Village to the city government, which local officials said would allow the local government unit to redevelop some areas.

According to reports, then San Fernando mayor Edwin Santiago and PCI president Jeffrey Lim signed a deed of donation agreeing for 5,000 square meters of land, where a two-story building and an amphitheater would be built by a private company.

READ: Portions of Paskuhan Village donated to Pampanga city

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But Gonzales opposed the donation, saying that ratifying the agreement would be disadvantageous to the people of San Fernando because they would only get a small piece of the Paskuhan Village when he believed the whole land should belong to the city.

TAGS: Pampanga, Paskuhan

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