Cebu-based developer asked to pay for damages

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram February 17,2020 - 10:33 AM

Photos showing damages incurred by a service center for high-end tires along A.S. Fortuna in Mandaue City reportedly due to excavation and drilling works of a nearby mixed-use development project. | Contributed photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines – A Cebu-based real estate developer is asked to pay P17-million after excavation for one of its projects in Mandaue City reportedly resulted in damages in nearby properties.

Gerard Tan, chief executive officer (CEO) of SouthGate Express Marketing Inc., together with his legal counsel lawyer Wilber Dumon, summoned Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLI) to pay the damages incurred by the ongoing construction of its mixed-use development along A.S. Fortuna in Barangay Banilad, Mandaue City.

In a press conference held at Oakridge Executive Club on February 16, 2020, Tan said drilling and excavation work for one of CLI’s projects caused ‘huge cracks’ in the building in July 2019.

The building, he said, once served as service centers for high-end tires from Italy and China.

“In July 2019, reckless excavation works of a project by CLI damaged our building with the fixtures and equipment inside it along with other houses and buildings,” Tan said.

SouthGate Express Marketing Inc. is the exclusive distributor of Italian-brand Pirelli tires and China’s Aeolus Tires.

The tire brands’ service center sat right next to a 1.23-hectare property where CLI is currently constructing Astra Centre, a mixed-use development incorporating lifestyle, residential, leisure and office components.

Tan said a memorandum of agreement (MOA) was signed between SouthGate and CLI in August 2019, with the latter vowing to reconstruct and renovate the damaged service center within six months – from October 2019 until April 2020.

However, Tan expressed disappointment when he learned that the building was yet to be demolished even after Mandaue City’s Office of the Building Official (OBO) gave the go signal in doing so.

“It has yet to finish demolishing the damaged building. Its executives met us on Dec. 18 to assure us that reconstruction will ensue. To date, it has not started,” he added.

In a press statement sent to members of the media, CLI denied allegations that they purposedly delayed the reconstruction and renovation of the businessman’s building.

“We are disheartened by the publicized allegations against us, which we vigorously deny. We welcome complaints but there are appropriate channels for this,” CLI said.

“Rest assured, CLI will deal with this issue with the utmost integrity. Since our establishment, we have always prided ourselves on being ethical in our dealings. Our sterling track record has shown this,” it added.

SouthGate, according to Tan, has been leasing a 387-square meter lot owned by a couple identified as Billy and Victoria Perez since 2005.

The first contract between the company and the Perez couple expired on February 28, 2015.

But the latter, Tan said, “unequivocally and unconditionally” agreed to extend their agreement to February 28, 2020 after he secured their permission to implement renovations in the property as part of his P12-million expansion plans.

Dumon also said they have lodged civil lawsuits against the Perez couple for refusing to honor the lease contract their parties entered.

The lawyer said his client ‘was surprised’ on learning that the property owners, through their lawyer, informed the businessman that he allegedly breached the first contract of leasing – accusing him of failing to turn over the building and its improvements.

“Mr. Tan was also shocked to know that the couple refused to renew the lease contract beyond February 28, 2020, despite their previous agreement,” said Dumon.

The Perez couple is reportedly in the United States as of this writing, and have yet to respond to the allegations hurled against them.

On the other hand, Dumon said their company is also mulling to take legal actions against CLI.

“We are exploring all angles on this development but we’re hoping that we will not (resort) on filing cases (against CLI),” he added. /bmjo

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TAGS: damaged property, lawsuit, Mandaue City, real estate developer

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