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[ Subic ] Solon to House: Probe Moonbay Marina deal

December 13, 2008 04:49 PM Saturday
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A lady lawmaker is urging the House of Representatives to look into an alleged sweetheart deal highly favoring a leisure resort designed by urban planner Felino Palafox entered into by former Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Felicito Payumo.

In her privilege speech early this week, Buhay party-list Rep. Ma. Carissa Coscolluela claimed that Payumo granted Moonbay Marina in 2002 a lease rate of P2.75 per square meter per month for a period of 50 years and renewable for another 25 years.

According to reliable sources, Payumo used to be a silent partner of Moonbay Marina which is ran and managed by a sister of a public relations practitioner believed to be orchestrating Palafox’s unfounded attacks against the present SBMA heirarchy.

Coscolluela said the lease rate approved by Payumo to Moonbay Marina was far lower compared to adjacent properties which were rented out in foreign denomination or $4 per square meter back then.

“To me, that is a transaction disadvantageous to our government,” Coscolluela emphasized.

“This should be investigated so that charges could immediately be filed against anybody that would be found to have compromised the interest of the Filipino people,” the lady lawmaker added.

Also, Coscolluela said the construction of the Moonbay Marina caused the destruction of an entire urban forest and the loss of a refuge for thousands of turtles “who found Subic to be a safe haven for them to continue their species.”

“This is the issue that needs investigation more than the trees that have never been cut, or alleged extortionists whom Palafox cannot even name,” Coscolluela said.

Coscolluela was referring to the allegation made by the urban planner that the SBMA is planning to cut some 300 trees to give way to a $120-million resort project and the alleged 18-percent extortion made by a certain SBMA official in exchange for the approval of Palafox’s bid.

The lady lawmaker said Palafox is using the trees and the extortion issue to attract media attention and generate political and public support and besmirch the reputation of SBMA.

Earlier, Coscolluela challenged Palafox to name the SBMA official who allegedly extorted 18-percent of the contract price in exchange for the approval of his bid for a project inside the Freeport zone.

“Palafox hides behind all these people who speak for him and has not been man enough to name the alleged extortionist,” Coscolluela said.

The lady lawmaker made the reaction after the camp of Palafox floated the idea that a certain Boy Coscolluela tried to extort from his office, the Palafox and Associates.

“There is only one Coscolluela on the SBMA Board. He is my father; he was not involved in the bidding of this project, he never spoke to Architect Palafox or any of his staff engineers or architects about this project, and his name is not even Boy. Architect Palafox and his cohorts cannot even get their lies straight,” Coscolluela pointed out.

This unfounded allegation, the lawmaker said, has besmirched the reputation of the SBMA and its agents and associates. “They have been unfairly crucified in the court of public opinion,” the lady solon said.

The truth is, Coscoluella added, Palafox could only be sourgraping because his company lost in the bidding, contrary to what he was claiming that he was disqualified for his failure to come up with the money which was asked from him by an alleged SBMA official.

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