Bacolod land feud reaches courts as firm questions deal | Inquirer News
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Bacolod land feud reaches courts as firm questions deal

By: - Correspondent / @carlagomezINQ
/ 09:13 PM July 20, 2011

BACOLOD CITY—SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPHI) on Tuesday filed an amended petition asking the Bacolod Regional Trial Court to annul the negotiated sale and lease by the Negros Occidental provincial government of a 7.7-hectare lot to a rival firm, Ayala Land Inc. (ALI), SMPHI lawyer Vincent Patrick Bayhon said.

SMPHI asked the court to also declare it winner of the July 7 bidding for the lot.

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Aside from Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. and members of the Committee on Awards and Disposal of Real Properties, the amended petition also listed members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Negros Occidental as respondents.

Bayhon insisted that the SMPHI won the July 7 bidding and the provincial government’s negotiated sale and lease with Ayala was unfair. He said the SMPHI was short-changed.

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“It has reason to believe that the governor favored Ayala,” said Bayhon in a press conference here.

Marañon, however, said the provincial government committee on awards acted above-board and within the bounds of the law in awarding the sale and lease of the lot to ALI.

Marañon said he merely acted in the best interest of the province and that it would earn more through a negotiated sale.

The governor had said the July 7 bidding was a failure because SMPHI and ALI submitted bids below the floor price approved by the Commission on Audit and that both firms were invited to the negotiated bidding held July 15.

SM lost by default for failing to show up at the negotiated bidding, he added.

But SMPHI insisted it submitted a superior bid on July 7 and was surprised why the bidding was declared a failure. The province’s committee on awards and disposal of real properties gravely abused its discretion when it declared the July 7 bidding a failure, the company said.

Marañon said the provincial government would leave the matter for the courts to decide and would proceed with the sale and lease of the lot to ALI.

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Bayhon said SMPHI would file a petition at the Court of Appeals to stop the provincial government from carrying out its deal with ALI.

Bayhon also denied allegations that SM’s filing of a case in court was meant to coerce and threaten the provincial government.

The governor said he would submit all documents on the land deal to the provincial board for approval. The governor needs a go-signal from the board to sign the deal with ALI.

“This will be the biggest investment in the province so far, and it will definitely change the landscape (of Bacolod City),” Marañon had said.

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TAGS: Ayala Land, bidding, court, dispute, Feud, Justice, local government, Lot, Petition, Regions, SM Prime Holdings
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