A civil society group has prodded the Office of the Ombudsman to indict for graft and plunder charges officials of the Public Estates Authority and a private developer over alleged highly anomalous and illegal sale of more than 41 hectares of reclaimed land along Roxas Boulevard in 1988.
In a supplement to their complaint-affidavit filed on Friday, the United Filipino Consumers and Commuters Inc., through its lead convenor Rodolfo Javellana Jr., asked Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to immediately resolve the graft and plunder charges against PEA officials and executives of Manila Bay Development Corp. since it has been pending with the anti-graft body for more than two years now.
“It is not amiss to point out that this case has long been pending resolution with [the Ombudsman]... roughly about two and a half years from the time it was filed. This honorable office must therefore now resolve this case with dispatch,” Javellana said in his motion for early resolution.
UFCC is among those that filed graft and plunder charges against former and current PEA officials and MBDC executives before the anti-graft body in February 2015.
The groups accused the PEA and MBDC officials of allegedly conspiring to defraud the government in the sale of more than 41 hectares of reclaimed land in Parañaque in 1988, now valued at more than P41 billion. MBDC bought the property for only P420 million.
Among those charged were PEA chairman Roberto Muldong; general manager Peter Anthony Abaya; board directors Virgilio Ambion, Manuel Medina, Edilberto de Jesus, Reynaldo Robles and Rene Enrique Silos; former general manager Eduardo Zialcita; MBDC president George Chua and the firm’s board of directors.
UFCC filed the criminal complaint after MBDC failed to develop the land beside the Cavite Expressway nearly three decades after both parties signed an agreement covering its sale and supposed conversion into a Greenhills-type commercial center within five years after the sale.
In its 14-page motion, Javellana stressed that the PEA-MBDA deal is not only grossly disadvantageous to the government, but is also unconstitutional and illegal.
The complainant said the sale and conveyance of 41.467 hectares of reclaimed land at the Manila Bay Reclamation Area by PEA in favor of MBDC is unconstitutional because it violates Section 3 Article 12 of the 1987 Constitution, which prohibits the sale of lands of the public domain to private corporations.
The complainant noted that the subject parcel of reclaimed land that was transferred to a government agency, in this case to PEA, may be disposed – sold or leased – only after Congress authorizes the disposition of such land.
“There has been no clear showing that the subject property (which is indisputably reclaimed land) had been declared by the government as alienable or disposal. Likewise, no specific law was passed by Congress authorizing the actual disposition (sale or lease) of the subject property as required by Sec. 60 of Public Land Act,” UFCC said.