Ombudsman upholds IBC-13 property deal
The Office of the Ombudsman has upheld the joint venture agreement entered into by state-owned broadcast network IBC-13 with a property developer as it dismissed the graft case filed against those who signed the contract in 2010.
In a 29-page resolution, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said the JVA entered into by former officials of IBC-13 for the development of its idle property in Quezon City was advantageous since the payment to the government helped alleviate the financial condition of the corporation, especially all its employees.
“The JVA, far from being grossly and manifestly disadvantageous to the government, proved to be in fact advantageous with its intention of alleviating the financial distress of IBC-13 employees, both supervisory and rank and file, through the payment of their long delayed employment wages and benefits,” the resolution said.
The case stemmed from a graft case filed on March 24, 2010 against former IBC officials and Primestate Ventures Inc., the winning bidder.
The Ombudsman stated “thus for all intents and purposes, the transaction between IBC-13 and R-11 Builders Inc./Primestate Ventures Inc. is a valid and legal JVA”.
Upholding the deal, the Ombudsman dismissed the graft case filed against former IBC officials, Jose B. Javier, President and CEO; Joselito G. Yabut, Chairman of the Board; and Conrado A. Limcaoco, Supervising Secretary ; and property developer Nathaniel L. Romero, President and Managing Partner of RII Builders/Primestate Ventures Inc. for lack of evidence. It also ruled that the JVA they entered into for the development of the IBC compound in Capitol Hills, Quezon City was advantageous to the government.
The move was taken to address the decades-long labor problem of IBC-13 brought about by the failure of previous government administrations to pay the long overdue salaries and benefits to its employees due to its financial condition.
However, the Ombudsman said IBC-13 before entering into the JVA, had sought the legal opinion of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, which said the JVA was in furtherance of its primary purpose.
The OGCC stated in its opinion to IBC-13 that “entering into a JV agreement to develop its mostly idle property in order to secure its existence as a broadcasting corporation, support its operations, and continue to provide salaries to its workers, is thus in furtherance of IBC’s primary purpose. After all, if it does not devise creative ways, such as this proposed JV agreement, to raise funds in order to keep it alive, it will not be able to serve its primary purpose at all.”
The Ombudsman noted that even the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and Office of Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) also declared that there was no legal impediment that prevents the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) from giving its consent to the IBC-13 into entering into the JVA which is clearly beneficial to IBC-13.
The PCGG through a resolution interposed no objection in principle to the proposed JVA upon its signing on March 24, 2010.
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