Capitol plans to haul SM Prime to SC

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014


NEGROS Occidental Board Member Salvador Escalante of the Second District bared plans of the Capitol to file a case against SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPHI) before the Supreme Court.

“If there is a need for us to go directly to the Supreme Court, why not?” said Escalante, who chairs the committee on finance and appropriations.

Last May 21, SMPHI through its legal counsel Edgar Ryan San Juan filed another civil case for the declaration of nullity of the deed of conditional sale and contract of lease for the 7.7-hectare properties between the Province of Negros Occidental and Ayala Land Inc. before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Bacolod City. The case is now with RTC Branch 48.

Earlier, Fifth District Board Member Alain Gatuslao, chair of the committee on laws and ordinances, said the series of cases filed by SM Prime against the Provincial Government caused the Capitol to incur losses in income and job opportunities in the past three years that the properties were left undeveloped by Ayala Land.

Escalante said the Provincial Board plans to ask the High Tribunal to issue a finality on the case.

“It is still a plan though, nothing definite,” he said.

Escalante said it is up to their lawyers to decide on what to do and what legal steps to take.

Gatuslao had also said that SM Prime is bullying the Capitol to get what they want.

Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. said that SM Prime is not only bullying the provincial government but also the people of the province.

Escalante added: “We won’t allow that to happen. If there is legal remedy then we will pursue that.”

The governor said the profit that could have been earned from the P6.2 billion development project of Ayala Land could have been used for the scholarships, livelihood projects, and health programs for the poor.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 09, 2014.

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