Biñan mayor defends land deal amid plunder case
SAN PEDRO CITY, Laguna — The mayor of Biñan City in Laguna province defended the decision of the city government in 2009 to buy a 2.9-hectare property used for the expansion of the city’s public cemetery.
Mayor Marlyn Alonte-Naguiat, on Tuesday, said the property in Barangay San Antonio was bought for only P3,015 per square meter, for a total of P89 million.
This was contrary to the claims of businesswoman Adelaida Yatco, who filed on Tuesday, a case of plunder against Naguiat and Biñan City Vice Mayor Walfredo Dimaguila Jr.
Yatco said the land was worth only P21 million but the city government bought it for P98 million.
“We don’t know where they were getting the numbers,” said Naguiat in a telephone interview.
She said the purchase amount, based on the city’s assessor statement, was less costly than the prevailing fair market value at that time, which was somewhere between P8,000 and P10,000 per square meter.
“Where else could you buy [a lot with that amount] considering that it was next to a private subdivision?” Naguiat said.
She also denied committing misconduct, as claimed by Yatco, who said the property was partly owned by the relatives of Naguiat’s mother, Fe Belizario Alonte.
According to Naguiat, most of the properties in Biñan belong to her mother’s clan, the Belizarios, but “[my mother] did not directly own it (the land). It was not as if we sold our own land to the government.”
Naguiat believed the case was “politically motivated,” considering that Yatco is the mother of Jose Francisco Ruben Yatco, a candidate against Dimaguila in the mayoral race.
Jose Francisco Ruben is Naguiat’s second cousin.
Naguiat is running for representative of the newly created lone district of the city of Biñan.
She said the case was the Yatcos’ way of getting back at her after she turned down the family’s request to support Jose Francisco Ruben’s bid.
“We have a party (Liberal Party) and I could not support them just because we’re relatives,” she said. SFM
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.