December 2, 2022

The city council is in quandary about a request for the body to amend one of the resolutions that authorized the city mayor to purchase a lot owned by the National Power Corporation, which will lead to the dismissal of the cases filed by the latter against the city government.
Councilor Lourdes Tabanda, during the council session on March 28, quizzed Assistant City Legal Officer Melchor Rabanes why Mayor Benjamin Magalong is asking the council to amend the resolution that specified that the city government’s purchase of a lot owned by the NPC will serve as basis for a compromise deal for the dropping of the charges the NPC filed against the city government.
To recall, the NPC in 2008 filed cases against the city government for the recovery of possession and collection of back rentals involving its lot at Sanitary Camp.
Rabanes said during the pre-trial, the NPC has agreed with the council’s condition and committed to relay this to the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management, which by virtue of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act, took over the properties, including the liabilities, of the NPC.
Tabanda, however, said the mayor wrote to the city council to remove the condition that the city’s purchase of the NPC lot will serve as basis for the compromise agreement.
She said the reason the council included such provision is to protect the interest of the city.
“We want that once the deed of sale is signed, NPC will drop the cases it filed against the city government. Why are we being asked now to remove this condition?” Tabanda said.
City Budget Officer Leticia Clemente told the council it is Psalm that does not want the city council’s condition.
“The position of the mayor is the same as the council’s stand, but Psalm wants that the city government’s purchase of the NPC property is without prejudice to the cases filed against the city,” Clemente said.
Asked by Tabanda why the city government is signing the deed of sale with Psalm when the NPC was the one that filed the case against the city, Rabanes said that by virtue of the Epira, Psalm now owns NPC’s assets.
He said he earlier suggested that in the deed of sale, NPC and Psalm should be included as parties, but only Psalm, which prepared the deed of sale, was included.
To clear things, the city council invited the NPC and Psalm to attend its session.
Rabanes agreed with the move, adding, “Since NPC and Psalm can’t get their acts together, it is best that we invite them so we will be able to find out their direction.”
Clemente said the mayor wants the matter to be settled soon.
The NPC property is where the Baguio’s sewage treatment plant stands. The city government intends to rehabilitate the STP through a loan from the Asian Development Bank, which the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority will acquire on the city’s behalf. – Jane B. Cadalig