Why give it to Landing without any bidding? Duterte reviews corruption-laced Nayong Pilipino’s $1.5B casino deal
President Rodrigo Duterte has instructed the Department of Justice (DOJ) to review a lease contract that Nayong Pilipino Foundation Inc. (NPFI) has entered into with Landing Resorts Philippines Development Corp. (LRPDC).
“The President said he has instructed Secretary Menardo Guevarra of DOJ to review the contract and the President described it a ‘flawed’ contract,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a radio interview on Wednesday.
Roque announced last Tuesday that Duterte has fired the entire members of the NPF board and management due to a lease deal which the Chief Executive called “gravely disadvantageous” to the government.
Under the lease contract, the LRPDC, a subsidiary of Hong Kong’s Landing International Development Ltd., will reportedly develop a $1.5 billion casino-resort in NPF’s property in Entertainment City in Paranaque City.
The groundbreaking ceremony was held on the same day that Duterte sacked the entire NPF board and management.
On May 2, Duterte’s distant relative, Maria Fema Duterte filed criminal and administrative complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman against her fellow NPFI board members including chairperson Patricia Yvette Ocampo in connection with the Nayong Pilipino’s lease contract with LRPDC.
Maria Fema Duterte alleged that the amount of the contract was disadvantageous to the government which, she reportedly said, stands to lose P25 billion in 50 years.
Roque said the President was like “fire-breathing dragon” when he announced the sacking of the NPFI officials during last Monday’s Cabinet meeting.
“Of course, nakikita natin na maraming beses na magmura ang President, pero itong pagkakataon po talaga, nakita ko talaga na parang fire breathing dragon itong si President. Galit na galit po siya dito sa nangyari sa Nayong Pilipino (Of course, we have seen the President making expletives in many occasions but this time, I saw the President like a fire-breathing dragon. He was really angry on what happened with Nayong Pilipino),” Roque said in an interview with dzMM.
Roque said Duterte told the Cabinet members that public bidding should have been made since the leisure complex is not a project under the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).
“We are also wondering why it did not go (into) public bidding because the only exception is if the idle land is owned by TIEZA (Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority) or PEZA accredited industry,” Roque said in a separate interview with dzRH.
“Aside from that, he (the President) has repeatedly said that his opposition to (a) new casino,” he added.
Roque said he is expecting new Ombudsman Samuel Martires to also act on the complaints against NPFI. (PNA)