Monday, June 14, 2021

Malilong: What else did Robredo lose?

The Other Side

FILINVEST said the rescission of their purchase of an SRP lot which they and then Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña mutually agreed upon and jointly announced in 2017 was not valid because the city government failed to return their down payment.

It’s a good legal point. Rescission entails the return by each of the parties of whatever it may have received under the canceled contract. Why no such mutual restitution occurred during the almost two years following the announcement of the rescission is difficult to explain, however.

First of all, Filinvest’s down payment was supposed to be intact, well-preserved in the city treasury first, because then mayor Michael Rama, who sold the property to Filinvest, was denied the authority to spend it and later, because Osmeña refused to use it.

Is it possible then that contrary to what they announced, Filinvest and Osmeña did not really agree to cancel Filinvest’s purchase and that the joint announcement was merely a ploy to apply more pressure on the other buyers, namely Ayala and SM?

In any case, I heard that Filinvest and the Labella administration have agreed in principle to uphold the sale, subject to the company’s payment of interest that is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Labella did not take part in the negotiations, according to my source, but has agreed to forward the recommendations of his negotiators to the city council for approval.

All’s well that ends well?

* * *

Vice President Leni Robredo is back to being jobless, but did she lose anything else other than the title of anti-drugs czar in the country? Let’s backtrack a bit to put the question in perspective.

The President’s offer to Robredo to take over the anti-illegal drug campaign was expected to put her in a dilemma. Would she accept, knowing that she was being set up for failure? Or would she give it a try and prove the naysayers wrong?

The popular belief was that Robredo would turn down the offer. Even her allies in the Liberal Party warned her against taking the bait. How could she expect cooperation from the people she was going to work with when her success would mean that they, including the President, and their methods were wrong?

Robredo, however, defied conventional wisdom and took the job as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs. As expected, as soon as she announced her decision, roadblocks were set up against her. Obviously, many people in high places were uncomfortable with the idea of her as anti-drugs czar for various reasons. One of the more troubling ones was the fear that her appointment could be viewed as a recognition of the legitimacy of her election as vice president.

They applied all sorts of pressure upon her and later used this pressure in asking her to give up. But she refused, even taunting her critics that she thrived on pressure. When the President advised her to resign, she replied that he should instead fire her. And he did the other day, less than a month after he appointed her.

The President’s men said she deserved her dismissal. Actually, she asked for it. How much did she lose in addition to her title, compared to the President?


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