Audit office approves Capitol-Ayala Land deal-A A +A
Friday, October 5, 2012
THE Commission on Audit (COA) central office finally approved the Deed of Conditional Sale entered into by and between the Negros Occidental Provincial Government and Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) involving 7.7-hectare prime property of the Capitol.
The approval was signed by Commissioners Juanito Espinoza Jr., Heide Mendoza and Fortunata Rubico on September 21.
Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., who made the announcement of COA's approval at his office on Thursday, said they will try to convince ALI to reconsider its intent to disengage from the project.
He said COA's approval of the contract is vindicates the provincial officials and the members of the Committee on Awards and Disposal of Government Properties because "all the time, all along, we have been saying that what we did was within the bounds of law and all the guidelines were followed, the rules and procedures of the bidding and it was transparent and above board."
"We will write ALI a letter informing them that, at last, we got the approval of COA. We hope and with a stronger prayer that they will change their decision," Marañon said.
He also said that there's another school of thought that, since Ayala withdrew its offer, the Provincial Government may submit the property for a rebidding.
"So maybe, they can talk it over between Ayala and SM and make an arrangement with a possibility of dividing the area between the two giant companies. We are also hoping for an amicable settlement for a better benefit of the province because I believe that the prices went up and there are many other developers who might also be interested. But if Ayala will pursue its bid, it will stay as is," Marañon added.
ALI wrote to Marañon last month expressing its intent to disengage from its proposed P6.6-billion worth of development plan for the Capitol property because of the delay of the COA's decision on the contract that was submitted last year.
COA, in its decision, stated that the request for the approval of the contract for lease is hereby remanded to the audit team, the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental for review on post audit basis.
The contract for lease covers 40,481 square meters, with ALI's negotiated price at P73 per square meter, while the sale covers 36,587 square meters with ALI's negotiated price at P20,500 per square meter.
Lawyer Mary Ann Lamis of the Provincial Legal Office said they will furnish the Regional Trial Court the copy of COA's approval.
She believes that the approval has bearing on the main case filed by SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPHI) against the provincial officials on its assertion that it won in the bidding held last July 7, 2011 when it submitted the higher bid price at P65 square meters for lease and at P18,888 per square meter for the sale of parcels of land.
In that bidding, ALI submitted the bid price of P17,720 per square meter for the sale and P50 for the lease.
SMPHI also raised the question about the non-disclosure by Capitol of the floor price of the land offered.
The RTC is set to resume the hearing of the case filed by SMPHI against the Provincial Government at the sala of Judge Estefanio Libutan.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on October 05, 2012.