Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., and the members of the Negros Occidental Sangguniang Panlalawigan and the Committee on Awards and Disposal of Real Properties are seeking the dismissal of petitions filed by SM Prime Holdings Inc. against them before the Court of Appeals and Branch 50 of the Regional Trial Court of Bacolod.
SMPHI is seeking to stop the Negros Occidental provincial government from selling and leasing its 7.7-hectare prime property in Bacolod City to AyalaLand Inc.
Public interest is superior to and must prevail over the private business interest of SMPHI, the respondents told the Bacolod RTC.
SMPHI’s bid in the second bidding pales in comparison to the proposal AyalaLand submitted in the July 12 negotiated bidding, the respondents said.
With AyalaLand, the Negros Occidental provincial government stands to earn P3,479,924,197, exclusive of P25 million for the Capitol Park improvement, while SMPHI offered P3,112,464,973, the respondents said.
The variance of P367,459,224.25 spells a big difference in favor of the provincial government, which could be translated to more developmental projects for the countryside in the spirit of public service, they added.
They also pointed out that Ayala’s proposed investment in the development of the 7.7-hectare property is P6 billion compared to the P2.5 billion of SMPHI.
SMPHI insist that it won the second bidding for the property, but the provincial government said it declared the bidding a failure because SMPHI and AyalaLand submitted bids below the floor price of the property.
SMPHI failed to attend the subsequent negotiated bidding for the property, where AyalaLand participated and was awarded the right to lease and buy the property.
Marañon yesterday said the contracts for the lease and sale of the property to AyalaLand are currently under review by the Commission on Audit, after which they will proceed with the signing and consummation.
Meanwhile, provincial lawyer Mary Ann Manayon-Lamis yesterday said they will ask the CA to call off the temporary restraining order it issued against the provincial government officials as sought by SMPHI. They will also ask that the SMPI petition before the CA be dismissed, she added.
Earlier, the governor, and the members of the SP and Committee on Awards, in their comments before Branch 50 of the Bacolod RTC, also asked for the dismissal of the SMPHI petition pending before it for certiorari with application for TRO and or preliminary injunction for lack of merit.
The court was told that SMPHI’s failure to submit its proposal during the negotiation process constituted a waiver of its opportunity to present an improved offer to the province that could have equaled if not bettered the Ayala bid.
SMPHI’s failure to submit its proposal is its own loss, and it has nobody to blame but itself for its default, the court was further told.
SMPHI’s petitions before the RTC and CA will be disadvantageous to the provincial government and to the general public because it will derail the realization of plans and programs for future development and progress in Negros Occidental, as well as hinder the delivery of basis goods and services to the public, the court was also told.
The proceeds from the sale and lease of the property will be used by the provincial government to finance countryside development in line with its thrust towards providing food security, healthcare, agricultural productivity, infrastructure development, livelihood and social services, the respondents said.*CPG