Capitol wants titles of province-owned lots from 93-1 swap returned
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu Provincial Capitol wants the titles of province-owned lots from the 93-1 land swap deal signed by former Cebu City mayor, Tomas Osmeña, and the former Cebu provincial governor now Vice Governor Hilario Davide, Jr. in August 2018, to be returned to them.
The land swap deal was flagged by the Commission on Audit (COA) in 2020 for the absence of approval from the commission before the Deed of Donation was signed.
In a letter to Mayor Edgardo Labella, Provincial Governor Gwendolyn Garcia is requesting that the city government return the Owner‘s Original Duplicate Certificates of Title (OODCT) covering Province–owned properties included in the Land Swap Deal and the Deed of Donation their predecessors previously entered into.
“This request is consistent with the observance of the status quo ante agreed by the representatives of both local government units during these meetings. Thus, mutual restitution is imperative upon the parties of the said deal.”
“Incidental to the restitution, the Province of Cebu will turn over all it received from the land swap deal. These include the OODCTs owned by the City involved in the land swap deal as well as the occupation of an SRP property that was made part of the same transaction,” said Garcia in the letter.
The Capitol noted that the city has already used Block 27 of the North Reclamation Area (NRA) for the Cebu City Quarantine Center (CCQC), which should have been in the hands of the provincial government if the Deed of Donation and Landswap is to be considered.
The Capitol takes this construction at the Block 27 “as a prima facie act of rescission of the land swap deal.”
“During our meetings with representatives of the City Government of Cebu, the parties were in agreement to observe the status quo ante while expediting the renegotiation of the affected properties of both local government units.
In view of the foregoing, citing the authority granted by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Cebu through Resolution No. 1992-20192, I respectfully request for the immediate return of all original owner’s duplicate certificates of title of Province-owned properties under the land swap pending renegotiation thereof,” said the governor in the letter.
In various meetings between the Capitol and the city government, the two governments agreed that the Deed of Donation the previous administrations entered into had many concerns including the non-mutuality of lots donated, which prompted the current administrations to renegotiate.
The letter from Governor Garcia was officially received by the City Council on January 27, 2021, and was referred to the Adhoc Committee for the 93-1 Landswap Deal.
Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia, the committee chairperson on housing, told reporters that the matter of returning the titles to the Capitol would mean rescinding the contract signed by the previous administration.
Although the two current administrations already agreed to renegotiate, the city government will still be looking into the legal dimension on the return of the titles.
“The council is not yet in the position to make a decision on the matter unless there is already a request from the mayor to authorize him to mutually rescind the contract. Dili pud ko kaingon nga irescind na gyod nato ang contract because that is a decision the executive has to make with the concurrence of the legislative body,” said Garcia.
City Administrator Floro Casas, Jr., said that he recently received the letter from the governor as well and will consult the mayor on the matter.
He said that the mayor will have to decide if the city should return the titles of the lot to the Capitol while they continue the process of renegotiating the 93-1 swap deal.
Mayor Edgardo Labella has yet to comment on this request by the governor as he continues to recuperate at home from an ear infection. /rcg
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