Panelo to recommend to Duterte to study UP-Ayala Technohub deal
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said on Tuesday he would recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte to look into a lease agreement on a commercial land owned by state-run University of the Philippines with Ayala Land Inc. following reports the deal was disadvantageous to the government.
In a phone patch interview, Panelo, also the presidential spokesperson, said that somebody sent him a study on UP Technohub located in Quezon City, allegedly showing that the property was leased for "less than P20 per square meter."
"Then Ayala issued a statement yesterday and they were saying that after 25 years, UP will get P10.4 billion in rentals. And after 25 years instead of… they did not even dispute that less than P20 per square meter, it would be 171 (pesos) after 25 years. And they were saying that UP will still own the land, plus 16 commercial buildings that will cost them P6 billion," he said.
Panelo, however, cited his rough estimate on how much the government could only get vis-a-vis the possible earning of ALI.
"I have a rough estimate, assuming that one commercial building, because they have 16 commercial buildings… even assuming that only P1 million is taken by them every month, you multiply that over a year, times 16, how much will you get? And for 25 years I think they will be getting about 48 billion (pesos), while UP will be getting 10.4 (billion pesos) according to them," Panelo said.
"And you must remember that 25 years in a building, I think that should be demolished already. By that time, it is not that worth. It is not that valued anymore," he added.
The official said if it would be true, then there could be a need to change the terms in the contract.
"I will recommend to the President to study this because the government is apparently at the disadvantaged point," Panelo said.
Panelo denied that the government is singling out the Ayalas, stressing Duterte's earlier order to look into all government contracts to ensure they are not onerous and disadvantageous to the government.
Duterte had wanted to change some provisions in the water concession agreements with Ayala-owned Manila Water Company, Inc. and Pangilinan-led Maynilad Water Services, Inc. following a study made by the Department of Justice finding there were "onerous" and "disadvantageous" provisions in the contracts.
"So, it's not only the Ayala...it just happened that their (contracts) came out first," Panelo said. Celerina Monte/DMS