SM Prime may take other legal remedies

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Thursday, February 6, 2014


SM PRIME Holdings Inc. (SMPHI) may take other legal remedies after the Regional Trial Court in Bacolod City denied its petition against the provincial officials, including Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., for declaring Ayala Land Inc. the winning bidder in the lease and sale of the 7.7-hectare Capitol property.

In an emailed statement to the media Friday, SMPHI legal counsel lawyer Vincent Patrick Bayhon said they have not received a copy of the court decision alluded to by the governor in his statements to the press.

“If it is true that the court denied SM’s petition, then SM has available legal remedies it may take,” Bayhon said.

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He added that "SM believes that the province is entitled to no less than a fair and transparent bidding process,” adding that “SM has mounted a legal challenge against the bidding committee’s declaration of failure of bidding on July 17, 2011 upon its honest belief that the province deserves the best offer in an actual competitive bidding over a negotiated sale with a particular company.”

“SM will not abandon its cause and it remains confident that its efforts will result to a just and equitable resolution,” Bayhon said.

Marañon said the case would be put to rest now that the court has finally decided on the case.

He added that SMPHI has not contested the approval of the Commission on Audit of the deed of conditional sale and lease contract between the provincial government and ALI for the said properties.

The SM petition sought the annulment of any negotiated sale and lease by the provincial government of its property to ALI, and for SMPHI to be declared the winning bidder of the July 7, 2011 bidding.

In his 22-page decision dated January 23, 2014, RTC Branch 50 judge Estefanio Libutan said he finds no evidence to prove that the respondents, including Marañon and other members of the Committee on Awards, gravely abused their discretion in arbitrary manner in declaring a failure of July 2011 second public bidding.

The judge said the respondents’ acts, prior to during and after the July 7, 2011 bidding, including the negotiations with ALI, are all in accordance with the law.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 06, 2014.

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