CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — “All’s well in San Simon.”
This was the statement of Loret Santos, the chief of staff of Mayor Abundio “JP” S. Punsalan Jr., here on Tuesday in reaction to allegations of irregularities in his town which surfaced recently.
Earlier, Vice Mayor Leonora Wong lambasted Punsalan for allegedly acquiring parcels of land surrounding the town hall which are not contiguous to each other while some are under “lis pendens.” She even claimed that the acquisition was at a much higher price.
Wong, who was succeeded to the mayorship by Punsalan, also decried the plan of the LGU to acquire a P350 million loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines. She said the LGU should not take out a loan in the middle of the pandemic.
Santos denied any wrongdoing in securing a loan since “the local government unit of San Simon represented by the chief executive can secure loan” to implement various projects which will benefit the people of San Simon.
Santos also denied any anomaly in the town’s acquisition of several parcels of lands surrounding the town hall which, he said, “will eventually benefit the people.”
Santos even said their critics’ allegations that the parcels of land are not contiguous and are under “lis pendens” or have pending legal actions is not true.
He said there is even a bonus since the acquired lots will reach up to the end of the lot of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).
“Atin yang bonus, miras ya keng dulu ning NGCP,” he said, claiming that this will mean free additional parking space.
Santos said he suspects that Vice Mayor Wong is reacting negatively to the land purchase because her brother’s PTT gas station will be set for demolition because it encroached on the road.
“Karening asali ng gabun ning munisipyo, malasak ya ing gas station ning kapatad na kasi ing dalan siklo re anya very soon masukad lareni at lunto la boundaries at mayakit ing meg encroach la,” he stressed.
When asked about the lands under lis pendens, he said: “The titles are clean. Mantun la bustus but the titles are ok.”
He said the LGU bought them at around P3,00 per square meter.
He recalled that the lot fronting the town hall was being offered for sale then at P2 million which is a 1,000 square-meter lot. But he said then mayor Wong refused to buy it.
He said that now it is valued at P10 million by the one who bought it, a businessman from Sto. Tomas town he identifi ed as a certain Adelon David.
“Sometime in the second half of last year, the office of the mayor offered to buy it at P6 million, but Mr. David rejected the offer and lately it was learned that 800 square meters was sold at P13 million to a former mayor of Capas,” he said.
That leaves a 200 square-meter lot which was reportedly bought by another buyer.
Santos said with the lot acquisition, they will now have a space for a training center, a multi-purpose gym, and other necessary offices.
He disclosed that the office of the mayor plans to entice the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Macabebe town to relocate in San Simon by offering them a portion of the land. This will be convenient for the RTC since it easily gets flooded in Macabebe while the location in San Simon is flood-free and is very accessible, he explained.
“The mayor has a lot of plans around the municipal hall,” he added.
Santos said there is now an ongoing construction, an expansion of the municipal hall to better serve and accommodate the people. The new building has a budget of P5 million from the Capitol and 4th District Rep. Rimpy Bondoc.
“Because the present municipal hall building is quite small, more space is needed to accommodate and better serve the people,” he noted.
Santos said with the plans of the office of the mayor and the progress now taking place in San Simon, big businesses are taking a second look at the town.
“The office of the mayor has received a lot of inquiries from big businesses like SM, Puregold, and Vista Land, just to name a few,” he disclosed.
Santos said the proximity of San Simon to Manila and its strategic location make it an ideal location for investment.
San Simon is a third-class municipality in the 4th district of Pampanga.