VG Lacson dismisses reports SM Prime negotiating with SP

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Friday, July 18, 2014


NEGROS Occidental Vice Governor Eugenio Jose has dismissed reports that SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPHI) is trying to reach out to the members of the Provincial Board for a negotiation to stall future legal actions.

This was disclosed by a highly-reliable source who said that a member of the Provincial Board is allegedly being used as a channel of SM Prime for the property giant’s offer to negotiate and hold a one-on-one talk with the rest of the board members.

The source refused to name the board member.

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"I'm not aware of this. If indeed true, SM should meet with the board as a whole. But I don't see any value in meeting us," Lacson said.

In May this year, the 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.

Reports on SM Prime supposedly reaching out to the Provincial Board came on the heels of the pronouncements of Board Members Salvador Escalante of the Second District and Alain Gatuslao of the Fifth District that the SP is planning to file counter charges against SM Prime.

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 Supreme Court to issue a finality on the case.

Assistant Provincial Legal Officer Mary Ann Lamis is still preparing the answer of the respondents led by Gov. Alfredo Marañon to the nullification case filed by SM Prime.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 18, 2014.

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