Sunvar Realty Development Corp. should settle some P1.656 billion it owes the government and vacate the 2.9-hectare Mile Long property in Makati City, Solicitor General Jose Calida said yesterday.
“You cannot do this to the Filipino people. When you speak against the government of President Duterte, it’s like you’re immaculately clean. You have used your newspaper, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, to shield your shenanigans,” Calida said in a press conference in his office across the property.
Former PDI owners, the Prieto and Rufino families, control Sunvar.
Calida likened Sunvar to the Kadamay urban poor group whose members took over housing units meant for soldiers and police in Bulacan recently.
“In truth, you guys are like the Kadamay squatters. You have been depriving the government of money that could have been used to fund projects for the poor,” he said.
Sunvar’s legal counsel Alma Mallonga called Calida’s claim a “gross mischaracterization” of the situation.
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“We’d like everyone to understand that Sunvar had a perfectly legitimate expectation of believing that its contractual commitment would be honored. That is all that is happening today,” she told ANC’s Market Edge.
The solicitor general said Sunvar has refused to leave the property despite the expiration of its lease agreement with the government on Dec. 31, 2002. Sunvar began occupying the property in February 1982.
“Despite notices, Sunvar continued to remain in possession and collect millions of rentals from its tenants,” he pointed out.
Calida said that since 2003 or for the last 14 years and seven months, Sunvar has been squatting, illegally using and occupying the Mile Long property and despite notices, continued to remain in possession and collect millions of rentals from tenants.
In 2009, the government filed a complaint for Unlawful Detainer against Sunvar Realty before the Metropolitan Trial Court for its illegal and unauthorized use and occupation of the Mile Long property.
According to Calida, an ejectment case is summary in nature as it intends to provide an expeditious means of protecting right to possession.
“From the get-go Sunvar never questioned the factual issues of the case. They just delayed everything. They filed baseless motions reaching up to the Supreme Court. That’s why it took almost six years before it was decided by the Metropolitan Trial Court,” he said.
“Instead of abiding by the decision by vacating the property and paying the rent, Sunvar filed a prohibited pleading after another to stop the government from implementing the decision,” Calida said.
He said Judge Winlove Dumayas of RTC Makati allowed Sunvar to maintain control of the property and collect rent from businesses.
“How so? Dumayas issued a TRO in favor of Sunvar. Sunvar had its appeal consolidated with the injunction case raffled to Dumayas. Notorious Dumayas then granted Sunvar’s appeal and dismissed the injunction,” he said.
“It should be noted that it took Dumayas 10 months to dismiss the injunction petition, which in the first place he knew he had no jurisdiction over,” Calida maintained.
“Worse, after the Court of Appeals found Dumayas having no jurisdiction, he held the records hostage. It was only when I personally went to his court in RTC Makati a few months ago that the records were elevated to the Court of Appeals,” Calida pointed out.
The Office of the Solicitor General, he said, has a pending Very Urgent Ex Parte Motion for Execution before the Court of Appeals.