Photo grabbed from Facebook.
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – “This ownership issue will not rest here. We have started it and we will see it through. Paskuhan Village is part of the cultural legacy of Pampanga.”
Thus, declared Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio “Dong” D. Gonzales, Jr. in the wake of the signing of a deed of donation for a 5,000-square meter land area of the Paskuhan property between the City Government of San Fernando and Premier Central Inc. (PCI).
Aside from the piece of land, the deed of donation signed by Mayor Edwin “EdSa” Santiago and PCI president Jeffrey Lim on July 2 included a two-storey facility and an amphitheater to be built by PCI free of charge within the donated property.
This signing was a continuation of the compromise agreement between the two parties approved by Regional Trial Court Branch 42 of San Fernando last January, a press statement from the city government said.
“Whatever agreement they have now, all this is because we ran after the sale. But then again, 5,000 square meters is just alms compared to what the people of San Fernando were deprived of,” Gonzales said, adding that 5,000 square meters is only a small fraction of the 9.3-hectare property.
“There is no 5,000-square meter donation if we did not run after the sale. We voiced our opposition and ran after the sale through the courts when no other dared to do it. And why donate 5,000-square meters if the sale is aboveboard?” he asked.
According to Gonzales, the issue of ownership is still pending before the court with his filing of last February 21 an urgent motion before the Regional Trial Court Branch 42 for the reconsideration of the compromise agreement between the city and PCI.
Gonzales, who is also House deputy speaker, has made his advocacy the restoration of full ownership of the Paskuhan Village to the people of Pampanga “as it represents a large measure of the cultural identity of San Fernando and the province.”
It could be remembered that Solicitor General Jose Calida said the sale of the property to the PCI, a subsidiary of SM Prime Holdings Corp. by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) “is void pursuant to Section 54 of Republic Act No. 9593.”
Paskuhan was sold for P939,656,848 or close to P1 billion. A deed of absolute sale covering the properties was executed between TIEZA and PCI. It could be recalled that Gonzales filed an Urgent Motion for Leave to Intervene.
The said motion was set for hearing on January 20, 2020 which was not held by the court. Gonzales’ lawyers were given a copy of a judgment (Compromise Agreement) dated January 15, 2020, which approved a Joint Motion to Approve Compromise Agreement with Attached Compromise Agreement jointly filed by the OSG, City of San Fernando, TIEZA, and PCI on January 10, 2020.
The Deputy Speaker filed an Omnibus Motion (for (1) Leave of Court to Intervene and (2) Reconsideration of Judgment (Compromise Agreement) dated January 15, 2020) on January 31, 2020. The Omnibus Motion was not acted upon as the court did not even hold a hearing on February 7, 2020, despite the Omnibus Motion being set for hearing in the court’s Calendar of Hearing.
Gonzales filed an Urgent Motion to Set the Omnibus Motion dated January 31, 2020 for Hearing on February 21, 2020. The previous motions were not heard and acted upon by the court, and the hearing was reset to March 7, 2020.
On March 7, 2020, the Deputy Speaker’s counsel was informed cancellation of hearing and handed a copy of a Certificate of Finality dated February 7, 2020, with the court certifying that the Judgment has become final and executory on January 15, 2020.
On June 25, 2020, as the quarantine was somehow eased in Metro Manila, the Deputy Speaker filed with the Court of Appeals a Petition for Certiorari (with Urgent Motion for Leave to Intervene and Prayer for the Issuance of a Status Quo Ante Order, Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction).
Impleaded as respondents in the Petition are the RTC Br. 42 of San Fernando, Pampanga as represented by its Presiding Judge, the OSG, the City of San Fernando, TIEZA, and PCI.