By: Morexette Marie B. Erram May 31,2018 - 10:55 PM

Mayor claims law violated when Daluz, Garcia and his nephew junked resolution on P18-B Kawit project; Not so, says Garcia

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña will not take sitting down the attempts to stop the P18-billion joint venture agreement (JVA) to develop Kawit Island.

The city’s chief executive has vowed to file complaints against three councilors belonging to the opposition Barug Team Rama-PDP Laban for voting against a resolution they allegedly endorsed.

Osmeña claimed that Cebu City Councilors Raymond Alvin Garcia, Jose Daluz III, and Renato “Junjun” Osmeña Jr. endorsed a resolution that would have authorized him to enter into a JVA with Gokongwei-led firm Universal Hotels and Resorts Inc. (UHRI) to transform the eight-hectare Kawit Island at the South Road Properties into an integrated resort.

“You cannot vote against a resolution you endorsed just because the entire team decided to vote against it,” said Osmeña in a press conference on Thursday.

“As to when? I’m not in a hurry. What particular case? My lawyers are working on it. But what they did, that was illegal,” he added.

Garcia, a lawyer by profession, was quick to debunk Osmeña’s claims.

He said what he, Daluz and Renato endorsed was the council’s ad-hoc committee report which was intended to scrutinize the P18-billion deal.
“We never endorsed the resolution. We, in the ad-hoc committee, just gave our comments and observations on the contract or the JVA in a committee report. We just approved the recommendations on that particular committee report,” Garcia explained.

“To approve a resolution to let the mayor sign into a contract, that’s a different story. These are two different things. It’s like you’re comparing apples
between oranges. So I think, there’s really no (legal) basis for the mayor on doing so,” he added.

Cebu Daily News tried to reach Daluz and Renato through their cellular phones on Thursday but to no avail.

In November 2017, tycoon John Gokongwei, who owns and operates JG-Summit Holdings Inc., visited Kawit after expressing interest to develop the area.

Companies such as Robinsons Malls, Robinsons Land, Cebu Pacific, and Universal Robina are under JG-Summit.

The council formed a five-member ad-hoc committee chaired by Renato, who is Mayor Osmeña’s nephew, in February to scrutinize the P18-billion deal.

Four months later, the committee came out with a 14-page report in April that highlighted certain conditions before the JVA with the mayor would continue.

In the report, the ad-hoc committee asked the Gokongwei’s UHRI to finish the development of Kawit Island within eight years and that there should be a mutual negotiation instead of an automatic renewal of contract once their lease expires after 50 years.

Members of the ad hoc committee were Councilors Garcia and Daluz from the opposition Barug Team Rama-PDP- Laban, and Councilors Margarita Osmeña, the mayor’s wife, and Sisinio Andales from the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK).

But last May 12, the Cebu City Council, voting 9 to 8, junked the resolution authored by BOPK ally, Councilor Eugenio Gabuya Jr., which would hav
e allowed Mayor Osmeña to enter into a JVA with UHRI to establish a casino, hotels, conference centers, and an amphitheater on Kawit Island.

All councilors from Barug voted against the JVA. During the discussion, Councilor Joel Garganera of Barug pointed out that the sharing scheme
between the developer and the city government would be disadvantageous to Cebu City.

Garganera proposed for a straight lease instead of the city government getting only 10 percent of the development shares and 90 percent for UHRI.

The straight lease, he explained, would force UHRI to develop the property quickly because they would be paying fixed and higher amounts every year.

But for Mayor Osmeña, the opposition was just playing politics.

“It’s all about politics for them. That’s why I’m really angry not because we lost a Gokongwei but because we lost 5,000 jobs. They don’t care about the 5,000 jobs. And it’s for the south district where jobs are needed the most,” he said.

Osmeña, however, remained optimistic that the project would proceed.

He said he would ask his allies in the council to reintroduce the project.

Osmeña said he also had to make sure that an ally would be elected as the next president of the Association of Barangay Councils in Cebu City in
order to get the majority in the City Council.

At present, both Barug and BOPK have eight members in the council. Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella of Barug votes in the event of a tie.

When they decided on the proposed JVA, there was a tie as the councilors toed the party line — eight BOPK councilors went for the resolution while the eight from Barug opposed it.

Labella broke the tie and voted against the resolution.

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TAGS: 3, councilors, sue, to, Tomas

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