Cortes lawyer: Transactions of previous admin were all legal
The camp of sixth district Rep. Jonas Cortes suspects that there is a “motive” behind the Mandaue City Council’s move to review transactions made during his administration.
Lawyer Jamaal Calipayan, the chief of staff of Cortes, said that all transactions that the former mayor entered into were all legal.
“All contracts entered into during the time of Mayor Jonas are legal and binding. There is clearly an ulterior motive why all of these “issues” are being raised at this time when election season is close,” said Calipayan in a text message to Cebu Daily News.
Mandaue City Mayor Gabriel Luis “Luigi” Quisumbing had earlier said that the city legal office is conducting a review of all contracts which involved the disposal of city-owned properties during the Cortes administration.
Cortes was city mayor for three terms which ended in July 2016.
“There are few other transactions that are currently under review by both the city legal and lawyers nato,” Quisumbing said in an interview with reporters.
During their ongoing investigation, the mayor said they found some “questionable” transactions which involved Cortes.
“Unfortunately, sa among nakit-an sa review, there really appeared to be some highly questionable na mga kontrata na executed during the time of Mayor Jonas,” he added.
This includes the lot sale of the about 35, 821 square meter foreshore land by the Mandaue City government to E.C. Ouano Development and Management Corporation (Ecodemcor) in 2015, he said.
The city-owned property located in a commercial area in Barangay Looc was reportedly sold for only P1, 791,050 or at least P50 per square meter.
Just recently, another lease contract entered into by the Cortes administration was also found to to be questionable because this lacked city council approval.
The contract involved the lease of 14, 408 square meters of lot located at the North Reclamation Area (NRA) to Katumanan Hardware Inc. in 2007.
However, Katumanan Hardware Inc. had reportedly authorized the sub-lease of the property to Cenore Corporation even in tje absence of Council approval.
Quisumbing said they wanted to recover the city owned lots that are covered by questionable contracts and instead use these to address the city’s need for more space for the implementation of housing projects and the establishment of more government offices.
“We want to take a look. Kay nagsige tag pangita og yuta for housing. For example magamit na nato sa other government services. But at the same time, nahurot naman gud ang atong properties,” Quisumbing said.
“Whether (the reason for our reviews is) political or not, does not change the fact that the crime has been committed,” he added.
Calipayan said that former mayor Cortes is prepared to answer allegations on contracts that are reportedly “questionable.”
“Each lawyer is entitled to his own opinion and understanding of the law. If he has specific allegations on specific contracts we will answer it when it is brought up,” Calipayan said.
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