Capitol readies opposition to SM Prime’s motion

THE Provincial Legal Office of Negros Occidental is preparing an opposition to the motion for reconsideration filed by SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPHI) pertaining to the dismissal of its petition for nullification.

SM Prime has sought to nullify the deed of conditional sale and contract of lease for the Capitol properties between the Provincial Government and Ayala Land Inc. (ALI).

Judge Rosario Ester Orda-Caise, presiding judge of Branch 48 of Regional Trial Court in Bacolod City, dismissed the civil case on the ground of forum- shopping in a decision dated March 3,2017.

SMPHI through its legal counsel Vincent Patrick Bayhon of Puno and Puno Law Firm asked the court to reconsider its decision on March 3, 2017 and direct the parties to present their respective evidence through a full-blown trial on the merits of the case.

“Consequently, the court upon hearing of the case on the merits render judgment in favor of SMPHI and against the defendants declaring the deed of conditional sale and contract of lease between the Province of Negros Occidental and ALI null and void,” it added.

The court in the dismissal of SMPHI’s case pointed out several cases filed by the company against the province pertaining to the said contract which have been resolved.

The court decision said SMPHI committed forum-shopping in the case.
Although the different cases may have a variance as either to party or nature, the ultimate goal is to nullify the award made by the province to ALI of the subject contract of sale and lease of provincial lands, it added.

ALI’s development projects on the Capitol’s prime property are ongoing.

The property giant and the provincial government have lease and sale agreement totaling P6 billion.

The construction of Capitol Central, which includes the four-storey mall, eight-storey hotel, four-storey office building and the two nine-storey residential condominiums, is seen to be completed this year.

Also expected to be completed this year is the development of the Capitol Lagoon and Park.

ALI started the P25 million project on the Capitol Lagoon last December.
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