Duterte agrees with review of UP-Ayala Technohub deal: spox

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 23 2020 04:33 PM | Updated as of Jan 23 2020 10:44 PM

MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte has allowed the review of a lease deal between the University of the Philippines and Ayala Land, his spokesman and chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo said Thursday as the latter sought to verify claims that the government might be on the losing end of the contract.

Panelo initially recommended the review after reading a study “on the internet” that showed the state university leased the 137-hectare UP Technohub for less than P20 per square meter. Ayala Land has belied the claim and corrected the amount to P171 per sqm.

“Sabi niya (Duterte) ‘eh kailangan talaga pag-aralan ‘yan’,” Panelo said during a Palace press briefing.

(He said that needs to be examined.)

Panelo added that he would acquire a copy of the lease deal from the state university, which earlier expressed openness to the review even if a university official already denied that the deal was disadvantageous when it was signed in 2006.

Ayala Land also welcomed a "transparent review" of the Technohub complex lease contract.

“UP may not know about the onerous provisions,” Panelo said. “That’s why precisely you will study kasi di ka naniniwala sa both sides sa ngayon (because you don't believe both sides now).”

Panelo said he could review the contract as the President’s chief legal counsel or he could also refer it to the Department of Justice.

If the deal is found to be onerous, Panelo said he would seek recommendations of the Department of Finance, Department of Justice, and the Office of the Solicitor General.

Signed in 2006, the lease deal between state-funded UP and Ayala Land paved the way for the development of the Technohub complex in Quezon City, which now houses call centers, campus apartments, and a business hotel.