Filtered By: Topstories

Judge who ordered Sunvar to vacate Mile Long property promoted to Sandiganbayan

President Rodrigo Duterte has elevated to the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan the judge who issued the order last August for the realty firm owned by the Prieto-Rufino clan and all other tenants to vacate the controversial Mile Long property in Makati City.

Duterte named Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 141 Judge Maryann Corpus-Mañalac to succeed the late Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Maria Cristina Cornejo, who died on September 3 due to various illnesses.

Mañalac beat five other nominees for the post including judges in Tuguegarao City and Baguio City.

It was Mañalac who issued the notice to vacate against Sunvar Realty Development Corp. and its tenants following the resolution issued by the Court of Appeals (CA) Former Fifth Division on August 14 in favor of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).

Sunvar and its tenants then left the 2.9-hectare property.

Solicitor General Jose Calida had previously slammed Sunvar for its continued occupation of the property, calling it the "Philippine Daily Squatter," a play on the name of sister company Philippine Daily Inquirer, a broadsheet that Duterte has slammed for bias in the past.

He said Sunvar owes the government P1.656 billion of unpaid rentals exclusive of interest.

Sunvar, however, said that it leased the Mile Long property—an undeveloped land of the government 35 years ago—upon the understanding—that the lease period would expire in 2027.

The company said that it has paid P16.8 million as advance rentals, and spent millions more to build roads, buildings, and infrastructure to develop the property.

Sunvar also maintained that it entered into a legitimate commercial transaction with the government.

Duterte earlier said he wants to sell the property in order to generate funds for the construction of houses for soldiers. —JST, GMA News