MANDAUE CITY – “I can not allow this to happen, this is very disadvantageous to the city government of Mandaue and its people,” Mandaue City Vice Mayor Carlo Fortuna told Newsph.org in an EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW.
The usually soft spoken Vice Mayor engaged in a heated discussion with city councilors identified with Cong. Jonas Cortes late yesterday afternoon in their regular session on the issues revolving the closure order of Big Hotel and its two other allied establishments as ordered by incumbent City Mayor Gabriel Luis “Luigi” Quisumbing.
Fortuna provided to Newsph.org the scheduled rental payment of Katumanan Hardware to the Mandaue City government which was earlier approved during the administration of Cortes who was still then the City Mayor.
Based on the scheduled rentals, the supposed first year of payment in 2007, Katumanan Hardware merely rented it for P12 per square meter, which Fortuna, who is a lawyer said, is very unfair to the city and its residents.
“Dose pesos ra alkanse gyud, I can not in conscience accept it,” the Vice Mayor added, during a recess of the very heated session.
He earlier debated with city councilors Nenita Layese, Carmelino del Mar and Ernie Manatad on the contentious issue.
As per the scheduled payment, the lot which covers 14, 408 square meters, is already rented for P1,728 per square meter as the rental schedule increased on its 8th year by 10% and compounded every two years.
The CONTRACT OF LEASE between the City of Mandaue and Katumanan Hardware Inc. represented by a certain Elbert Paragoso was further extended to 25 years from original 15 years in 2007. It was signed by then Mayor Cortes last July 30, 2012 in behalf of the city and by Paragoso.
For Edward Ligas, a Mandaue City resident and a strong critic of Cong. Cortes, the amount is not enough considering the current market value of the lot where the 3-star hotel sits, fronting a mall and beside the city’s Time Square Plaza in the North Reclamation Area (NRA).
“That contract is not only flawed but also grossly disadvantageous to the city. Ang akong nahibaw-an dili na menos sa twenty thousand pesos per square ang kantidad sa yuta diha. Ka-swerte gud nila, pirteng baratoha sa abang nga mahal man ang presyo sa yuta diha,” Ligas of barangay Alang-alang said.
In June 4, 2014 Katumanan rented out the lot to CENORE CORPORATION for P25,000,000 (TWENTY FIVE MILLION PESOS), the operator of the hotel owned by businessman Roderick Ngo.
Mayor Cortes conformed to the transaction reached through a DEED OF ASSIGNMENT but the same was not approved by the city council.
Atty. Jamaal James Calipayan, the chief of staff of Cong. Cortes reasoned however that all the transactions are “legal.”
But to the Mandaue City goverment through Mayor Quisumbing, the contracts were legally infirmed and that the operation of the hotel therefore is questionable.
Aside from the closure order to the Big Hotel, the same closure order was issued to Linear Coffee which operates just inside it and the Big Hotel Suites which is an annex.
Mayor Quisumbing did not state in his orders however about the infirmity in the lease contracts but cited all three establishments as having “no business permits” from the city goverment.
As of this afternoon though reporters who rushed to the area saw that all three establishments are still conducting their businesses as usual.
Mayor Quisumbing and Cong. Cortes who used to be political allies are facing each other in forthcoming May 13 midterm polls as Cortes decided not to seek reelection.