By NITZ ARANCON
MISAMIS Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano’s lawyer has asserted that the provincial chief executive’s controversial lease agreement with Rhea Ritzie P. Nueva required no provincial board approval based on the province’s revenue code.
The defense is contained in a 12-page verified answer prepared for Emano and submitted to the 38th branch of the Regional Trial Court by provincial legal officer Cerilo Neil Pacana on Aug. 29, 2017.
A copy of the document, secured by the Gold Star Daily on Monday, shows the capitol’s legal office chief acknowledging the execution of the Emano-Nueva contract and at the same time asserting that it was made “on the ground that there is no need for Sangguniang Panlalawigan Resolution in order for the Governor to enter into a contract because he was cloth with authority already pursuant to the Local Government Code of the Province (sic).”
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Pacana, however, did not cite the specific provision in Misamis Oriental’s revenue code that supposedly authorized the governor to enter into lease contracts without the approval of the province’s legislature.
The lawyer also denied that Emano was privy to the written communications between the Red Cross and Nueva’s company, specifically the demand letters that sought the eviction of occupants.
The Sept. 3, 2013 deal allowed Nueva of a company called Capitol Lease Ventures (CLV) to lease 1,029 square meters across the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) for P102,900 a month, build on it, and then engage in subletting.
The same group is also leasing another property between the regional office of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the capitol tennis court, and subletting stalls to food vendors. The capitol has refused to rid portions of the sidewalk and road, where the stalls have extended, of obstructions despite orders from Malacañang for local governments to reclaim all public roads and sidewalks.
The Philippine Red Cross protested over the Emano-Nueva deal and sued the two. It presented two transfer certificates of land title to support its claim over the 1,029 square meters across the state-owned NMMC.
But the capitol rejected the Red Cross’s ownership claims, alleging that the provincial government reclaimed the contested property on May 28, 1958 “pursuant to the automatic revocation and reversion clause in the said Deed of Donation.”
Pacana said the contested property was donated to the Red Cross with conditions, and these were not complied with by the humanitarian organization.
He assailed the Red Cross’s ownership claims and even the very existence of the organization’s Transfer Certificates of Title T-206242 and T-206243 “on the ground that the acquisition of the said titles was by virtue of machinations and deceit.”
The verified answer submitted to court by Pacana also shows the capitol accusing the Red Cross of causing the “fraudulent registration” of the disputed property in its name “without any legal basis or color of title, to the damage and prejudice of the rights of the Province.”
He stated that the Red Cross’s claims are “specifically denied for lack of knowledge sufficient to form a belief as to the materiality or falsity of the allegations thereof.”
Pacana added: “For all intents and purposes, the properties being leased to CLV are owned by the Provincial Government of Misamis Oriental and not by the [Philippine Red Cross].”
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