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GSIS board seeks recall of land sale

Documents show trustees authorized former president to dispose of port area property
By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 05:30 AM July 04, 2019

The board of trustees of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) on Wednesday tried to recall its decision last week to sell the Port Area property currently being occupied by tycoon Enrique Razon-led International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) and possibly avoid suffering the same fate as the state-run pension fund’s resigned president and general manager Jesus Clint Aranas.

The Inquirer learned that President Duterte himself confronted Aranas after last Monday’s Cabinet meeting as the President accused the former GSIS chief of being untruthful in claiming that ICTSI had not been paying rent.

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However, Aranas supposedly clarified to Mr. Duterte that while ICTSI had indeed been paying its dues to the Philippine Ports Authority, it had back rentals to the GSIS of almost P1 billion a year.

On Wednesday, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said Mr. Duterte had accepted Aranas’ resignation, which was tendered on Tuesday and announced to GSIS employees that same day.

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In the aftermath of Aranas’ resignation, documents obtained by the Inquirer showed that some members of the GSIS board on Wednesday tried to pull out Board Resolution No. 89 dated June 25, wherein the seven-person body green-lit the minimum bid price and cash sale of Port Area Property 1, while also granting the president and general manager the authority to do so.

Contrary to earlier reports claiming that the GSIS board did not approve the planned sale, Board Resolution 89 was signed by, besides Aranas—who served as the board’s vice chair: chair Rolando Macasaet and trustees Wilfredo Maldia, Jocelyn de Guzman Cabreza, Alan Luga, Nina Ricci Ynares-Chiongbian, Anthony Sasin, Kahar Macasayon and Carlo Antonio Almirante.

Since, legally speaking, a board resolution cannot just be pulled out, members of the board instead sought to retrieve copies of Board Resolution 89 “due to some revisions,” read a separate memo also on Wednesday seen by the Inquirer.

The GSIS board was expected to tackle these revisions when it meets today (July 4).

“Since 2018, the board has considered the sale of Port Area Property 1 that, except for income from valuation gains, does not contribute to GSIS’s operation and is being claimed by the Philippine Ports Authority despite the fact that the title is in the name of GSIS,” the resolution read.

While the office of the GSIS’ vice president for real estate asset disposition and management on June 10 proposed a minimum bid price of P36.995 billion for the property, the board on June 25 approved and confirmed to sell on an “as-is-where-is basis” Port Area Property 1 at a minimum bid price of P50 billion.

The board also authorized Aranas to sign, execute and deliver the deed of absolute sale to the winning bidder and all pertinent documents relative to this planned sale.

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TAGS: Enrique Razon, Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), Port Area property, President Duterte
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