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Ayala wins gov’t lot in Bacolod; SM questions deal

[ ] July 18, 2011

Ayala Land said it will be investing P6 billion to develop a 7-hectare provincial government prime property in Bacolod City it won in a negotiated sale on Friday.

Gov. Alfredo Maranon Jr. said development of the property at the back of the capitol "will change the landscape of Bacolod City and Negros Occidental."

Emmanuel Jalandoni, Ayala Land vice president, who presented the development plan for the proposed Capitol Civic Center, said an initial P3 billion will be spent within two years after the signing of the contract.

SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPHI), which joined a bidding on July 7 which was later declared a failure, did not join what it described as an "illicit" negotiated sale on Friday.

Ayala Land said it entered a bid of P20,500 per square meter for 36,587 square meters up for sale for a total of P749,951,500, inclusive of P25 million for the development of the Capitol Park for the provincial government. It said it also entered a lease bid of P73 per square meter a month for 40,481 square meters or P2,914,632 a month escalating by 10 percent every five years over a 50-year lease period.

Vince Bayhon, SMPHI counsel, said the negotiated sales was illicit because of the pendency of an injunction petition filed by SMPH against the governor and the members of the committee on awards which is pending with a Bacolod regional trial court.

In its petition, SMPH said it submitted a far more superior bid to that of ALI in the bidding on July 7 which was declared a failure after both SMPH and ALI allegedly submitted bids below the appraised value of the property. The awards committee only disclosed the appraisal value of P19,500 after the actual bidding.

Bayhon said SMPH’s non-participation in the negotiated transaction last Friday was prompted by the requirement imposed by the awards committee for the participants to issue an undertaking that no legal action will be initiated against the committee and the provincial government by the aggrieved parties.

"SMPH did not lose by default, and our interest in the project remains," Bayhon said.

Bayhon added: "The alleged floor price or appraisal value was never disclosed during the (July 7) public bidding, even after the sealed bids of both parties were opened and read aloud. The belated disclosure of the floor price the next day was a mere afterthought and done with bad faith to deliberately provide an excuse for the committee’s rejection of SMPHI’s bid."

SMPHI said its petition questioning the validity of the declaration of a failure of the July 7 bidding has been set for a full-blown hearing on July 21 by RTC Judge Estefanio Libutan Jr.

SMPH said it proposed to purchase portions of the property at P18,885 per square meter and lease the remaining portion at P65 per square meter, or well within the price set by the awards committee. ALI submitted a bid that effectively offered to purchase the property at P17,000 per square meter, and a lease arrangement of P50 per square meter.

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