Tomas hits SRP land sale sans contract
CEBU CITY—Mayor Tomas Osmeña has vowed to get back the combined 45.2 hectares at the South Road Properties that were bought in 2015 by three big property developers apparently without a valid contract.
In a speech during the 80th Charter Day celebration here Friday, Osmeña expressed confidence he will get the properties back.
“That’s what I said in my Charter Day [message], ‘I will get it back.’ I did not say I will try to get it back. And I’m doing this for the Cebuanos,” Osmeña said.
In June 2015, city hall during the term of Mayor Michael Rama sold the three lots at the SRP. Some 26 hectares were sold to the consortium of Ayala Land-Cebu Holdings Inc. and SM Prime Holdings Inc.
But Osmeña doubted there was ever a valid contract for the sale of the 45.2 hectares of prime property.
“If there’s a contract of sale, so where is it? And the contract has to be approved by the City Council. Let’s ask the question first, where is the contract that the Council approved?” he said.
Osmeña raised the issue after Filinvest Land Inc. backed out from a deal for a 19.2-hectare also at the SRP.
“If the council doesn’t have it in the records, then there is no contract,” he pointed out.
The three land developers paid an P8.3-billion down-payment for the lots during Rama’s term, after winning a public bidding for them at P36,000 to P38,000 per square meter, Osmeña said. The sale was closed at P16.76 billion.
Osmeña, however, remained cautious. “We have to proceed one step at a time. We have to study the situation first. There are many legal matters involved.”
The SRP was developed and is owned by the City of Cebu, with 300 hectares in total on reclaimed land along the city’s east coast. Osmeña said the city could have sold the lots at a higher price.