Ex-Iligan officials face graft over land lease

Carolyn Bonquin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 27 2017 02:41 PM

MANILA - Twelve former officials of Iligan City, including former mayor Lawrence Lluch Cruz, are facing graft cases over an allegedly anomalous lease of land.

In separate cases filed by state prosecutors before the Sandiganbayan, Cruz is facing three counts of graft for leasing out land from Kiwalan Lumber Corporation (KLC) and Salvatori Development Corporation (SDC), firms which are allegedly connected to the mayor's relatives.

The other respondents in the complaints are former members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, namely Ruderic Marzo, Providencio Abrangan, Jr., Moises Dalisay, Jr., Riza Jane Magaro, Jose Zalsos, Frederic Siao, Marlene Young, Ariel Anghay, Michelle Sweet-Booc, Bayani Areola, and Roy Openiani.

Authorities learned Cruz has relatives in KLC and SDC, including Amador Lluch, who represented both firms in a memorandum of agreement with the Iligan City government.

Prosecutors also noted that instead of holding a public bidding, the contract was inked through negotiated bidding.

Prosecutors also said the lease-out prices were "unreasonable."

The cases stemmed from three contracts.

On August 21, 2004, seven parcels of land totaling 20,000 square meters in Tubod, Iligan City were leased out from KLC for nine years. The rental fee was P3.00 per square meter.

On December 30, 2004, seven parcels of land totaling 20,000 square meters in Tubod, Iligan City were also leased out from KLC for four years. Based on the agreement, P9.00 per square meter will be paid for the first 10,000 square meters, while P6.6 per square meter for the remaining 10,000 square meters.

Lastly, on March 13, 2013 the local government executed an extension for the lease contract for another five years. The rental rate was P13.17 per square meter for the first 10,000 square meters, and P8.78 per square meter for the second 10,000 square meters.

The prosecutors included the city council officials in the case for voting in favor of the contracts despite supposed anomalies in the lease agreement.