THIS is the latest in the series of articles I wrote about the multi-million-peso lot deal involving the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA). In the last article, I accommodated the explanation letter of MCIAA chief legal counsel Glenn Napuli. This time, self-styled anti-graft crusader Cris Saavedra, who quickly filed criminal cases before the Ombudsman against those involved in the deal, is asking me to print his response.
In the spirit of fair play and equal opportunity, here is Saavedra's letter:
“Atty. Glenn Napuli pointed out in his letter that the purchase of the lot by the MCIAA was above board. It was approved by the MCIAA Board of Directors, the Solicitor General's Office, the Court of Appeals. However, the taxpayers are asking these questions:
“Is the price per square meter paid by MCIAA advantageous to the government? Was the payment of P590 million justified for the 42,239 square meters lot? Did the P590 million go to the lot owners? Is the transaction advantageous to the government when the MCIAA agreed to pay the capital gains tax, documentary stamp, and all expenses and all taxes due to lot 2538?
“Definitely not, and these are the reasons:
“The lot owners, Eduarda Pulvera Patalinghug and Maximo Pulvera, who approved and assigned the irrevocable and exclusive authority to sell to Anatalia Booc and her financier Johnson Yu at P3,500 per square meter of lot 2538 with an area of 42,329 square meters to any interested party last April 15, 2015, notarized, are the same persons who signed the compromise agreement last April 15,2016 with Paul Villarete, Pericles Dakay, Napuli and Atty. Cyril Abao selling lot 2538 per square meter at P14,000 to MCIAA.
“MCIAA officials and the lot owners are aware that Anatalia Booc owns 1/8 of the said property or equal to 5,291 square meters because Villarete received a letter dated June 13, 2016 with all the documents attached informing him of the legal personality of Booc and her financier and of the exclusive and irrevocable authority to sell that was notarized and is a public document.
“Villarete, if he was diligent enough as he was paid and trusted to protect the interest of the government, should have presented the problem to the heirs of the lot in question because P590 million of taxpayers money was put to risk. But he intentionally disregarded the issue and continued the illegal transaction with haste.
“Instead, he, Dakay, Napuli and Abao negotiated with fixers and people with political influence, which is against the policy of the government in selling of lot 2538 at P14,000 per square meters or a whooping 400 percent overpriced. This is against the exclusive and irrevocable authority to sell the said property at P3,500 per square meter.
“That when government buying properties using taxpayers money to pay it is covered by the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (RA 3019), the transaction must not be disadvantageous to the government.
“Not contented with paying the 42,329 sq. m. lot at P14,000 instead of P3,500 per square meter, MCIAA, in connivance with the lot owner and fixers, paid without thinking and with haste, P590 million, an overpayment of P73 million because the lot owners only own 37,038 square meters of lot 2538.
“Anatalia Booc, who owns 1/8 or 5291 square meters or equivalent to P73 million at P14,000 per square meter, refused to join the transaction because it was overpriced. We have evidence to show that the owner of the lot received only P200 million and the P390 million is now with the fixers, people with political influence, and other government officials.
The P73 million overpayment is now with the same group of people who does not own lot 2538: fixers, agents, lawyers, people with political influence and government officials. This is a daylight robbery of the taxpayers' money.
“Anatalia Booc filed with RTC Lapu-Lapu specific performance to convey, transfer and deliver 1/8 portion of lot 2538 with prayer for TRO and prelim injunction last 8/8/16. MCIAA agreed to pay all taxes and expenses due on lot 2538,including but not limited to the capital gains tax and documentary stamp tax for the exclusive account of MCIAA when this obligation should be the responsibility of the seller. COA will disapprove this condition because this lot purchase is very disadvantageous to the government.
“That, MCIAA agreed to pay, the total expenses and taxes, which will be more or less P40 million, in addition to the P590 million paid by MCIAA to the lot owner when this expenses should be paid by the seller. The actual cost of the lot will end up to be 590 plus 40 million.
“Because of this violation of the law, the undersigned filed another case of malversation and plunder against the same respondents last Aug. 12, 2016 and reported the illegal act to the Office of the President and Secretary Arthur Tugade of the Department of Transportation.”