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Bidding deadline for Ortigas prime property too soon -- SM exec

Posted on April 29, 2015 09:57:00 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]
By Krista A. M. Montealegre, Senior Reporter

THE JUNE DEADLINE for the submission of bids for the “Payanig sa Pasig” lot may be too soon, a ranking official of SM Prime Holdings, Inc. said yesterday, as prospective bidders study legal issues hounding the prime property in the Ortigas central business district.

THE SKYLINE of the Ortigas business district -- BW FILE PHOTO

On the sidelines of SM Investments Corp.’s stockholders meeting in Pasay City yesterday, SM Prime President Hans T. Sy told reporters that while the 18.48-hectare property is “interesting,” the company is still “evaluating [its] legal position.”

“I don’t know if this month of May is enough. Bidding is sometime in June. I’m not sure if it’s enough for us to do those studies,” Mr. Sy said.

Asked if SM Prime will seek an extension, he said: “We’ll see. We’re trying to get hold of all our papers. It’s in our legal [team] and we will discuss. By then we will know whether to ask for more time or whether to go for it.”

Interested parties can purchase the bidding package until May 15. The submission of pre-qualification of documents will run from April 27 to May 15 while a pre-bid conference is scheduled on May 26, 2015. The opening of bids was slated for June 3.

The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), an agency tasked to recover ill-gotten wealth of former dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, is bidding out the property.

PCGG Chairman Andres D. Bautista had said 20 major real estate developers attended the agency’s April 17 briefing on the auction of the property despite questions on who owns control and ownership of the land.

Businessman and known Marcos crony Jose Y. Campos surrendered the property in 1986 under Mid-Pasig Land Development Corp.

PCGG officials and members of the Privatization Council are facing graft charges before the Office of the Ombudsman filed by BLEMP Commercial of the Philippines, Inc. President Richard S. Singson, whose company claims ownership of the land.

Other parties, including the Ortigas family, have asserted too their ownership of the property.

Currently, Mr. Bautista had said PCGG only controls about 8 hectares of the rectangular lot -- which means tenant leases are being paid to government -- despite being in possession of the original 2.4-hectare land title and a reconstituted title for a 16-hectare parcel as granted by the court in 1988.

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