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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Nalzaro: MCIAA’s response to questions on lot deal

AFTER writing articles on the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) lot deal, I finally received a reaction from Glenn Napuli, the chief legal counsel of the MCIAA. The four-page letter dated July 18 was only delivered yesterday through LBC. I don't know if it was the cargo forwarder that caused the delay or it was mailed late by Napuli.

In the spirit of fair play, I am printing portions of Napuli's long explanation. After giving a background of the case while it was pending before the Regional Trial Court and the Court of Appeals, Napuli explained why they paid P590 million to the Pulvera heirs for the 42,329 square meters reconstituted property in barangays Bankal and Buaya in Lapu-Lapu City, which just adjacent to the airport.

To recall, the Pulvera heirs won the case at the RTC and the MCIAA went to the CA. While the case was pending with the CA, the Pulvera heirs agreed to settle.

Napuli said that on March 16, 2016, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed a manifestation in lieu of the comment on the motion to refer the case for mediation, which stated that “the plaintiff-appellant MCIAA is amenable to refer the case for mediation.”

The Pulvera family's proposal was initially at P25,000 per square meter as indicated in their letter dated Jan. 25, 2016. During the negotiations, the Pulvera family raised the amount using as basis the following appraisal: Metrobank with P32,000 per square meters, Asian with P28,000 per square meters and Cuervo with P22,000 per square meters.

Napuli said that on April 5, 2016, in the presence of its lead counsel from the OSG, MCIAA negotiated with the Pulvera family and their counsel. After hours, the amount of P700 million was reached. A day later, on April 6, 2016, MCIAA Board members met again with the Pulvera family to discuss a much lower amount. The amount of P590 million was reached.

The negotiated amount of P590 million was then referred to the MCIAA Board for review and approval on its April 8 Board meeting. After a thorough discussion, MCIAA approved the settlement amount of P590 million. Such MCIAA Board decision was then submitted to the OSG for its review and evaluation being the counsels for the Republic of the Philippines.

“After its review and finding that the agreement was proper,” Napuli said, “Solicitor General Florin Hilbay signed the 'Joint Motion for the Approval of the Compromise Agreement.' The OSG then filed 'Motion to Withdraw the Appeal' of MCIAA in the Court of Appeals.”

After review and finding everything to be in proper order, the CA approved the compromise agreement and ordered parties to strictly comply with it.

Napuli said that while the negotiations were on-going, a certain Constancio A. Pulvera wrote a letter dated April 29, 2016 to the Court of Appeals claiming that he has an interest on Lot 2538. The CA merely noted the said letter and did not act on it.

The letters of Mrs. Anatalia Booc was addressed to and received by MCIAA in June 2016. However, MCIAA was bound by the jurisdiction of the CA considering that there was a pending case.

The compromise agreement, as approved by the Court of Appeals, obligated MCIAA to release the payment of P590 million to the Pulvera family within ten days from receipt or the order. “Thus, MCIAA was left with no choice but to release the payment in compliance with the CA directives,' Napuli said.

He noted that since Jan. 3, 2001 during the filing of the case with the RTC to May 2016, MCIAA never heard from Anatalia Booc. There was no document presented or submitted to the Courts regarding her claims.

Napuli said that Mrs. Booc entered the picture when MCIAA was already required to pay the Pulvera family. She never participated in the proceedings in the Court nor made MCIAA aware of her existence. “Mrs. Booc is free to go to Pulvera family or even to Courts in order to address her concerns,” Napuli wrote.

“In your column you were insinuating that the MCIAA Board was in hurry despite the opposition of Mrs. Booc. It was not. It was a long, tedious process. The possibility of negotiations was first raised by the lawyer of the Pulvera family on Feb. 20, 2012 while the payment was made only on June 2016 or over four years later. MCIAA did not decide on it in one meeting and MCIAA did not decide on it alone. In every step of the way, there was the OSG and there was the CA that reviewed everything,” Napuli said. [To be continued]

(bobby@sunstar.com.ph)
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