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SM Land may sue Pasay City

By Lailany P. Gomez | Dec. 06, 2013 at 12:01am [ ]

Land developer SM Land Inc. said Thursday it is still keen on pursuing the P54.5-billion, 300-hectare reclamation project off Manila Bay, despite the decision of the Pasay City council to “withdraw” approval of the project contract.

“We stand firm with our commitment to undertake and complete the 300-hectare reclamation project as stipulated in our joint venture agreement with the Pasay City government notwithstanding the reported recall made by the Pasay City Council of resolutions it earlier issued supporting and approving SM Land’s proposal,” said SM Land senior vice president Dave Rafael.

SM Land, however, hinted it may sue the Pasay City government, citing the company had a legally perfected contract.

“We don’t want to delve on the motives behind why the city council is now belatedly withdrawing its support, but frankly, they were ill-advised. We have a perfected and legally binding contract which was duly ratified by the City Council,” Rafael said.

“The council cannot just unilaterally cancel this contract by issuing another resolution recalling its previous resolutions without due process and in violation of the constitutional rights of SMLI,” he said.

The Pasay City council on Wednesday issued Resolution 3059 recalling the earlier decision awarding the P54.5-billion Manila Bay reclamation project to SM Land.

Pasay City councilor Allan Panaligan, chairman of the committee on land use, said the withdrawal was intended to correct the defects raised by other stakeholders, including S&P Construction Technology and Development Co. and Ayala Land Inc.

“We just want to make sure that there will be no grounds for the council or the executives to be charged in court because of the said flaws. It [recall] is a protection for the executive and for the city council,” said Panaligan.

He said some of the flaws raised by S&P and Ayala Land were the alleged irregularities in awarding the project to SM Land without conducting an “open, public and competitive bidding.”

SM Land said there were legal remedies available and it would not hesitate to pursue such recourse if the council insisted on its latest course of action.

The company said it was not considering such a remedy at the moment, as it wanted to put a premium on the productive relationship with the Pasay City government and the council over the last 17 years.

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