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HGC told to explain land ‘scam’


by Paul M. Gutierrez

[ journal.com.ph ]

Thursday, 25 February 2010 19:41

THE Office of the Ombudsman has ordered officials of the Home Guaranty Corporation to explain their participation in the alleged anomalous deal involving the sale of a government property in Manila way below its fair market value.

According to the Ombudsman, there is “enough basis” to proceed with the preliminary investigation of the graft charges filed against HGC President Gonzalo Benjamin Bongolan and six other HGC officials over their alleged questionable sale of a 2.8 hectare property located at the Manila Harbour Center in Manila.

Graft investigators said the transaction “unduly” deprived the government of some P300 million in lost income.

The other HGC officials who were ordered to submit their respective counter-affidavits on the complaint filed against them were Elmer Nonnatus Cadano, EVP; Melinda Adriano, VP, Guaranty Group; Rafael Delos Santos, VP, Asset Management Group; Corazon Corpuz, VP, Corporate Services Division; Danilo Javier, VPi, Legal Group and, Jimmy Sarona, VP, Management Services Group.

A separate order said an administrative investigation of the officials concerned would also be conducted.

The order came after Jerome Canlas filed a complaint for violation of Section 3 (g) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for entering into the sale which is allegedly grossly disadvantageous to the government.

Canlas alleged the said HGC officials signed the documents pertaining to the “absolute sale” of a 2.8 hectare property, particularly Lots 3 and 4, Block 3 located at the Manila Harbour Center in Bgy. Vitas, Tondo, Manila, to La Paz Milling Corporation on 21 July 2008 for P384,715,800 or around P13,000 per square meter.

But Canlas claims the property was sold below its actual or appraised fair market values. “At the time of the sale in July 2008, the subject properties were worth P506,205,000 to P694,224,000 based on purchase prices as of 1999 and 2001, current sales offers, and independent appraisal of market values, or adjacent and adjoining properties,” Canlas said in his complaint.

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