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SM Prime files new complaint vs local gov’t deal with ALI

Posted on July 20, 2011 09:52:42 PM [ BusinesWorld Online ]

BACOLOD CITY -- SM Prime Holdings, Inc. has filed another complaint with the regional trial court here against the local government’s decision to award a property sale and lease contract to rival Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI), this time to halt the deal’s implementation.
Vincent Patrick A. Bayhon, counsel for SM Prime, told a press briefing late on Tuesday he had filed an amended complaint for certiorari.

The complaint also sought to nullify the awards committee’s resolution declaring the July 7 bidding for the 7.7-hectare lot a failure, thus allowing the local government to hold a negotiated selection instead.

Ayala Land officials could not be immediately reached to comment. It had earlier said it followed all the bidding procedures and documentary requirements prescribed by provincial government.

SM also asked the Court of Appeals to issue a 60-day temporary restraining order to stop the provincial government and Ayala Land from proceeding with the contract.

In the amended complaint, SM stated it believes the committee on awards and disposal of properties issued the resolution in an “unjust, unfair, and arbitrary manner with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.”

SM protested the rejection of its July 7 bid, which was higher than that of Ayala, and reiterated that it deserved to be declared the winning bidder.

“It is highly anomalous for the committee to be negotiating with the losing bidder with the intent of awarding the contract to that losing bidder,” SM stated in its complaint.

The awards committee declared Ayala the winner after it entered a bid of P20,500 per square meter for 36,587 square meters up for sale, totaling P749.951 million.

Ayala also offered a lease bid of P73 per square meter a month for 40,481 square meters or P2.914 million monthly, increasing by 10% every five years over a 50-year period.

The property for sale is situated behind the Provincial Capitol building on Gatuslao St. while those for lease are the lots near the Philippine National Bank and the National Food Authority buildings.

Ayala Land is looking to develop the property in Bacolod City into a mixed-use district for P6 billion. -- N. L. Guadalquiver
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