Aguirre: BuCor, Tadeco deal is null and void | Inquirer News
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Aguirre: BuCor, Tadeco deal is null and void

/ 05:42 PM May 04, 2017
vitaliano aguirre

Justice Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre during the Senate hearing on the Jack Lam bribery case.
INQUIRER PHOTO/LYN RILLON

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II backs the findings of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) fact-finding committee that the existing contract between the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and Tagum Agricultural Development Company (Tadeco) for the lease of 5, 300 hectares of the Davao prison and penal farm is illegal.

In the fact-finding report signed by Justice Undersecretary Raymund Mercate, the DOJ committee led by Chief State Counsel Ricardo Paras III pointed out that since the land in question is an inalienable land of the public domain, it cannot be the subject of any Joint Venture Agreement, such as the one entered into between BuCor and Tadeco.

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Even assuming a JVA is allowed over the property, the 2013 BuCor-Tadeco deal is “not a Joint Venture Agreement as defined under existing jurisprudence,” according to the DOJ committee report.

They said the agreement failed to comply with legal requirements to be valid, noting that there is no community of interest in the business by both parties; no categorical indication of a true and realistic sharing of the profits and losses; and that BuCor’s participation in the operation and management of the banana plantation is substantially minimal.

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Likewise, the DOJ panel pointed out that the present JVA contract area of 5,308 hectares is more than five times the allowable area (1,000 hectares) of public agricultural lands that can be leased to a private corporation under the 1973 and 1987 Constitutions.

Moreover, they found that the present BuCor-Tadeco JVA and earlier agreements since 1969 were never subjected to ay public auction or bidding in violation of Commonwealth Act. No. 141, or the Public Land Act.

“I agree with the findings of the committee that the deal is null and void based on the grounds they cited,” Aguirre said.

However, he said he is not “okay” with portions of the recommendation.

The panel recommended to correct the mistakes of the JVA.

But Aguirre said, “You cannot correct a null and void contract.”

He said he will study if the DOJ or the Bureau of Corrections is the proper body to move for the invalidation of the contract.

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Aguirre said he has approved the findings of the Department of Justice (DOJ) committee that the 25-year joint venture agreement (JVA) failed to comply with legal requirements.

“I approved of the findings of the committee that the deal is null and void and of the ground they cited,” he told reporters in a press conference.

The DOJ issued the opinion upon the request of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. JE/rga

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TAGS: Aguirre, Bucor, deal, DoJ, joint venture agreement, JVA, penal farm, Tadeco
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