Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo is putting more gasoline into President Rodrigo Duterte’s fiery public attack on the Ayala group which began with its water contract and has expanded to its Light Rail Transit project with Salim Group of Indonesia.
Panelo said he stumbled on another questionable deal involving the Ayalas, specifically Ayala Land’s long-term lease for the commercial development of UP-Ayala Technohub project along Commonweath Avenue in Quezon City, and he wanted to i include it among the contracts to be reviewed by Duterte.
“Meron pa nga akong nabasa isang.. I have to probe it. I read in the internet that ‘yung pa lang Technohub dyan sa UP run by the Ayalas, parang maraming computation ‘yung nag-research, parang lumalabas na yung buong lugar na ‘yun is being rented by the Ayalas at less than P20 per square meter for 25 years. Eh kung totoo ‘yun eh ‘di malaki na naman silang problema,” said Panelo in an interview with Inquirer radio.
“Siguro papatingnan na rin natin. Basta lahat ng may anomalya titingnan ng gobyerno. Basta mayroon anomalya hindi lang mga Ayala, lahat ng may kontrata na may anomaliya sa provisions, titingnan natin,” he added.
Panelo’s statement came after a Duterte Diehard Supporter, RJ Nieto of “Thinking Pinoy” website, came out with a report on the UP Technohub project where he claimed that “only an idiot would lease out a prime lot in Quezon City for less than P50 per square meter.”
In his analysis, Nieto claimed that UP contributed more than half of the joint venture’s capital with its 38-hectare land contribution (estimated value at P7.61 billion in 2006), while Ayala promised to put in P6 billion over the next 5-10 years to develop Technohub.
“Even if we assume that Ayala shelled out the entire P6 billion on the first year, that would still mean, based on the above figures, that the total equity in the entire venture is 13.61 billion, with UP providing 56 percent and Ayala 44 percent. If the ‘capital sharing’ is 56:44, then why is the revenue sharing only 15:85 at best? If you contributed over half of the capital in a business venture, would you be fine with receiving less than a fifth of revenues?” said Nieto.
Nieto also cited three things that concerned him about the Ayala-UP venture – Ayala saves on real estate taxes due to UP’s tax exemption; Ayala does not give discounts to tenants just because Technohub is on government property; and Ayala has been late or has not been giving UP’s share on schedule due to its cozy relationship with UP Diliman chancellor Michael Tan.