A PRIVATE developer has expressed intent to surrender its possession of a prime lot owned by the Cebu Provincial Government.
The development came after the Capitol had deemed “defective” a six-year contract of lease between Innoland Development Corp. and the former governor, now Vice Governor Hilario Davide III.
In a letter to Governor Gwendolyn Garcia dated August 9, 2019, Innoland chief operating officer Charles Vincent Ong said the firm is willing to cooperate with the Capitol’s move to recover its property.
“Firstly, I would like to assure you that our company has always operated and will continue to always operate in good faith. I hope that our sincerity reaches you when we say that we entered that contract of lease in good faith and we built these improvements in good faith,” wrote Ong.
“However, I am not writing this letter to show opposition. On the contrary, I am doing so to express our genuine efforts and earnest sentiments to cooperate with you and the Province of Cebu to ensure that we have a harmonious relationship with the government,” he continued.
The showroom of Innoland’s residential condominium, located beside the Cebu IT Park on Salinas Drive in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City, stands on a leased property owned by the Province.
The Province, through Davide, had executed a contract of lease with Innoland in 2014.
The transaction involved a parcel of land (Lot No. 929-B) along Salinas Drive, which was a subject of lease for six years, from April 2014 to April 2020.
Based on the contract signed by Davide and Ong, Capitol would lease 849 square meters of lot to Innoland for a monthly rate of P50 per square meter or P42,450.
But upon perusal of bidding records, the Garcia administration found out that the transaction did not undergo any procurement process through the Capitol’s Economic Enterprise Council.
There was neither a Provincial Board (PB) resolution authorizing Davide to enter into a contract nor a resolution ratifying the contract.
Because of this, the Capitol had terminated the contract of lease and issued Innoland a notice to vacate the property.
“We are in the process of vacating and removing the personal items from the building and assure you that we will not perform any activity that involves demolishing or damaging the structure built on the property. We now ask for your guidance as to the exact method of surrendering these properties to the Province,” Ong said.
During the PB session on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, PB Member John Ismael Borgonia (3rd) had withdrawn a resolution that would have authorized the governor to file civil charges against Innoland.
“We withdrew the resolution since Innoland already expressed intent to surrender the property peacefully back to the Province. It’s basically moot and academic,” Borgonia said.
Borgonia, who heads the committee on provincial and municipal properties, said the showroom will also be turned over to the Province.
Innoland had reportedly spent P25 million for the construction of the showroom.
“Immovable properties, based on the Civil Code, will form part of the real estate. If we base it on the Civil Code, ang Probinsya na ang makapanag-iya ato kay mao man gyud ang (the Province will gain ownership over it since its also the lot’s) owner,” Borgonia said.
Section 2 Article 445 of the Civil Code of the Philippines provides that “Whatever is built, planted or sown on the land of another and the improvements or repairs made thereon, belong to the owner of the land, subject to the provisions of the following articles.” (RTF)