Cong. Jonas Cortes (6th district, Cebu) is labelling Mandaue City Mayor Gabriel Luis “Luigi” Quisumbing of “scaring away investors.”
The Congressman who will be facing Quisumbing in the May 13 polls said that the incumbent Mayor was wrong in issuing closure orders to Big Hotel and two other establishments.
He said that Quisumbing’s action will send a bad signal to the business community and the city’s would be investors.
“Ako as Mandauehanon, we are trying our best to invite investors, pero kini, this incident might scare away investors. Mao gyud, maoy mahitabo, they might be packing, unya di na, mag second thoughts na whether to invest, to infuse more capital so detrimental sa economy,” Cortes told newsmen in a chance interview after he graced the blessing and inauguration of the new sales and services center of All Prime International Motor Corp. (please see separate story) in barangay Alang-alang.
According to Cortes, the issues covering the subleasing of the owners of the Big Hotel from Katumanan Hardware Inc. has already been addressed by the recent action of the majority of the Mandaue City council and the issue should have been settled already.
He defended the councilors who did it, all his political allies; Nenita Layese, Carmelino Del Mar Jr., Ernie Manatad, Malcolm Sanchez, Dallie Mae Cabatingan, Marie Immaline Cortes-Zafra and Cynthia Cinco-Remedio, who ratified last Wednesday the ASSIGNMENT OF DEED of the leasing of the city’s 1.4 hectares (14, 408 square meters) from Katumanan to Cenore Corp., the company that runs the hotel owned by businessman Roderick Ngo.
The seven are now facing charges in the Visayas Ombudsman for approving and adopting the report of its Committees on Laws and Ordinances and Assets and Properties to ratify the authority of the City Mayor to conform and approve the Deed of Assignment between Katumanan and Cenore that was reached on March 14, 2013.
“Katong majority sa councilors nga mi-ratify were doing their job, so mao nay ako. Wala gyud koy nakita nga kahiwian, kalapasan nga nahimo sa council,” Cortes said.
He said he knew of a legal opinion from Mandaue City Attorney Omar Redula that the issue of the lack of authority from the council can be remedied which the majority of the council members had acted upon.
But for Vice Mayor Carlo Fortuna, the action of the majority bloc is illegal since they have “usurped” the function of Mayor Quisumbing by approving and conforming on the deed which Quisumbing never sought.
Fortuna said that aside from the letter of Mayor Quisumbing that he is not pushing for a ratification, the majority bloc also acted on the request of Cenore which is a private entity and not a party concerned because it is not part of the LEASE CONTRACT which the city government had.
The LEASE CONTRACT was between the city government and Katumanan.
“They usurped the functions of the Mayor by ratifying it upon the request of a private individual who has no legal right to even asked for the ratification because he is not a party to the lease contract. It is Katumanan hardware not Cenore that should have asked for the confirmation of the assignment being the lessee,” Fortuna explained through text message to Newsph.org.
Fortuna earlier said that the city government merely protected the interest of the city as the rental amount that was paid by Katumanan to the city was just P12 per square meter. It started in 2007 and has since increased by 10% after the 7th year. Every two years it is compounded until 2022.
Fortuna said that what was glaring was the P25 million that was earned by Katumanan from its subleasing of the property to Cenore, while the city merely got P3 million.
“Ang tenant nga Katumanan hardware nakadawat ug nakaginansya ug twenty five million sa pag-assign niya sa iyang rights ngadto sa Cenore. Kita nga tag-iya sa yuta mga three million lang after pa sa pila ka tuig,” Fortuna said.
Cortes however defended the lease that the city had during his term, insinuating that the Quisumbing administration also has transactions which could not stand scrutiny.
“Lets check sa ubang contracts nga ilang gi-kuan. Hopefully nga ma-kuan nila bitaw before finger pointing. Ang ako lang matarong bitaw. The moment you point a finger sa imong opponent remember there are three fingers pointed back to you,” Cortes said.
Cortes recalled how his administration launched the so-called Performance Government System (PGS) which aimed to convert the once undeveloped area where the hotel sits to be the commercial and entertainment hub of the city.
Big Hotel is located infront of a mall and the Times Square Plaza in the Mandaue City side of the North Reclamation Area.
Cortes concluded that if the issue on the closure of Big Hotel will worsen, its employees will be dislocated and that the economy of the city will also be affected because of the revenues that will be loss.
Aside from the Big Hotel, Mayor Quisumbing also issued closure order to Linear Coffee that operates inside the establishment and its annex, Big Hotel Suites.