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Sunday, August 12, 2012
CAPITOL is filling up the fishpond and the submerged areas of the 24-hectare controversial Balili property in Tinaan, City of Naga, which the Provincial Government bought for P98.9 million in 2008. Engr. Adolfo Quiroga, provincial planning and development officer, made the confirmation, saying they started work in the early part of July. Quiroga said it is part of the “restoration” of the property so development can start soon.
According to sources, the work is being done at night, which surprised residents in the area. Upon receiving the information from concerned residents, I requested radio dySS reporter Reynand Alangilan to verify it with Capitol. During a press conference last week, Gov. Gwen Garcia denied the report. It was only last Friday that Quiroga admitted what was going on. He said they are restoring what is in the land title.
Meaning, when the Capitol bought the property it was specified there were no submerged areas.
But why hide this from the public? Why “reclaim” the fishpond and the submerged areas? Is Capitol doing this so it can justify the questionable purchase, which resulted to the filing of graft and malversation charges against the governor and seven other provincial officials?
Capitol bought the property without a feasibility study or a concrete plan on how to develop it. For me, developing the area is useless as the court might declare the transaction void because it was highly questionable and irregular.
And why did the contract to “reclaim” the property not go through the Provincial Board? Where did the Office of the Governor get its funding? I was told the contract involved some P29 million. And is it true that some of the contractors are officials of Naga City? If Capitol’s purpose for the restoration is to justify the purchase, it is too late. The ombudsman investigating the anomalous transaction is aware of the real status of the property. Uwahi na ang tanan.
In her defense to the two graft and technical malversation charges before the Sandiganbayan, Garcia claimed she was not aware of the real status of the property when she signed the memorandum of agreement. She said she was misled by members of the appraisal committee and former PB member Juan Bolo, who acted as the deal’s broker.
Mao nay giingon nga “estoryaheee.” Madam Gwen, tell that to the dead marines in Mindanao not to the people of Cebu. Kaigmat ug mata anang Gwen unya nalutsan. Aw, maoy nay giingon nganong “tugtug sa pansitan.”
How much did they receive in kickbacks from the deal? I am not accusing, but I am just asking. In 2005, a friend who is a real estate broker told me that Amparo Balili asked him to dispose of the property at P250 per square meter. In 2008, the Capitol deal was consummated at P400 per square meter. They even bragged they were able to save a few million from the deal because they were able to lower the price from P600 to P400 per square meter.
In a span of three years and without any development, the land value went up from P250 to P400 per square meter? That’s a P150 per square meter difference. Let’s do some arithmetic. First, you multiply P150 and 10,000 (10,000 square meters equal one hectare). Then multiply the product by 24 (for 24 hectares). There you have it.
Did the Balilis really receive the P400 per square as reflected in the contract? I won’t believe nobody received a kickback. No thief will admit he is a thief.
Well, the case is now with the Sandiganbayan and those involved will have their day in court. All I can say is, “mirisi.”
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 13, 2012.