Biz Buzz: ‘Unlawful’
Ayala Alabang Village Association’s (AAVA) “forcible” occupation and construction of the two new gates in Ayala Alabang were allegedly against the law, according to the group of homeowners opposing the opening of new gates.
To recall, the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) thwarted the village referendum on the opening of the gates, favoring complainants’ argument that this was “premature, without factual basis and useless” because this was beyond the power of the residents to authorize nor of AAVA to implement. Ayala Alabang’s property developer Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) has required written approval from 75 percent of affected homeowners as a key condition to the opening of the gate and not just consent from majority of village homeowners.
Lawyer Roger Quevedo, speaking on behalf of the complainants, noted that AAVA’s construction of the gates—already cited a violation by the Muntinlupa Office of the Building Official for lack of permit—was a criminal act. Quevedo also noted that AAVA had disobeyed the cease-and-desist order (CDO) issued by the HLURB and that its actions were therefore “obstruction and degradation” of the administration of justice. “The CDO covered not just the referendum but the main issue of whether or not to open the proposed gates,” Quevedo said in a statement sent to Biz Buzz.
The lawyer also refuted Joaquin’s use of Republic Act 9904 as legal basis for AAVA’s action. He said AAVA was covered by the Corporation Law and not by the Magna Carta given that AAVA was incorporated only in 1978 while the Magna Carta (RA9904) was passed only in 2009 and had no retroactivity provision.
On Oct.7, Quevedo’s group filed an urgent application for CDO and temporary restraining order with the HLURB against AAVA and the board members. The group also noted that in its haste to put up the gates, AAVA had violated its own rules allowing construction up to only 5 p.m. (meant to preserve the peace and quiet of the evening).
As ALI remains the owner of the San Jose and Champaca roads, Quevedo said the property developer had the right to set conditions on the use of its property. He argued that AAVA had been mistaken in thinking that property developers were mandated by law to donate roads and open spaces to the local government unit (LGU). What the law mandates was the acceptance by the LGU of the donation, he said. “Compelling AAVA would be tantamount to an unconstitutional illegal taking of property,” he said.
“AAVA cannot compel ALI to break its commitment to its lot buyers. ALI cannot be forced to violate its contractual commitments to each of its lot buyers who bought their lots from ALI based on a certain village design,” Quevedo said. ALI had earlier said that the controversial gates were not part of the master plan and were therefore “committed to enforce the village master plan, which always plays a significant part in any homeowner’s decision to purchase property” from them.
As the village saga continues to unfold, it’s interesting to watch for ALI’s course of action and what the Barangay Ayala Alabang’s deal with Filinvest will be. Doris Dumlao-Abadilla
Ax to grind
HAS Congress been fed outright disinformation on the alleged anomalies in the award of the contract for the 123.5-km Surigao-Davao-Surigao (Lipata)-Agusan del Norte road?
This seems to be the case after Public Works Assistant Secretary Gilberto Reyes on Oct. 5 cited the outright falsities raised by those opposing the project, including Butuan City Councilor Sergio Pascual.
Reyes clarified that the approved budget of the contract (ABC) was P3,422,688,199.31 (reduced from its original P3,544,375,276.50) and definitely not P2.5 billion as claimed in a news report.
In a memo to his boss Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Reyes also stated that the winning bid of Equi-Parco/Hebei in the amount of P3,321,551,974.95 was 2.95 percent below the approved budget, and not 20 percent higher as alleged.
Likewise, Reyes emphasized that the two other bidders, namely China Wuyi Co. Ltd. and Wijaya Karya Tbk., did not make it past the prequalifying stage not because of some minor issues, but due to substantial and clear grounds for disqualification based on the tough Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) guidelines for ODA-funded projects.
The project is aboveboard with Jica concurring with the bid evaluation and the awarding of the contract by DPWH to Equi-Parco/Hebei, stressed Reyes.
Sources say Pascual had been blacklisted by the Department of Public Works and Highways on all its projects as a contractor because of something that can only be derogatory on his part. Is that what this is all about—an ax to grind by a politician-contractor? Daxim L. Lucas
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