Poe mulls probe on IBC-13 deal


Posted at Jun 16 2015 06:28 PM | Updated as of Jun 17 2015 04:39 AM

MANILA - Senator Grace Poe is studying the possibility of filing a resolution to investigate the allegedly disadvantageous joint venture agreement for the development of the Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation (IBC-13) property in Quezon City.

Poe, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media, said she will request the Commission on Audit (COA) to provide its full audit report on the agreement between state-owned IBC-13 and RII Builders-Primestate Ventures Inc. which it earlier said was disadvantageous to the government.

RII Builders-Primestate Ventures Inc., for its part, has claimed that the Ombudsman had already cleared them of any liability.

In a statement, Coalition of Filipino Consumers secretary general Perfecto Jaime Tagalog said he is puzzled with Congress' inaction on the issue despite findings of the COA about the supposedly one-sided deal.

Tagalog cited the COA report stating that the land valuation is way below the actual value of the 4.4-hectare prime property in Quezon City.

The agreement set the price at P9,999 per square meter when the deal was sealed on March 24, 2010. Based on the average value of the land submitted by state auditors, the property bounded by Ayala Heights Subdivision and Capitol Golf Course was selling for P17,000 per square meter from 2009 to 2011.

"The price per square meter of the property could be more than double the value that RII Builders pegged in the joint venture agreement. Obviously, the government is on the losing end of the deal. These real-estate developers raped the government," said Tagalog.

According to the coalition, there was also an attempt to conceal the result of the appraisal made by the General Appraisal Company in 2000 that was more than double what IBC-13 agreed with RII Builders.

Under the joint venture agreement, RPI-PVI will construct condominium buildings and will profit from selling the units. The real estate developer, in turn, will pay IBC-13 a total of P728 million within two years from the signing of the deal.

In 2010, Senator Franklin Drilon was among those who questioned the deal and insisted that it was grossly disadvantageous, saying that of the P728 million RII will pay IBC-13, only P278 million will in effect be received by the government since P450 million will be used to compensate RII Builders.

The National Press Club of the Philippines (NPC) earlier cautioned the camp of businessman Reghis Romero II from making good its threat to sue for libel members of the press for airing and writing reports unfavorable to his business interests.

"While Mr. Romero has every right to sue, his alleged threat to do so is a form of harassment and intimidation that we cannot countenance."

"May we also remind Mr. Romero that we continue to live in a democracy that upholds freedom of the press and the right to air all sides in any controversy and not those that only favor the side of the rich, the powerful and the influential," said NPC President Joel Sy Egco.