SP authorizes MBTF to act on Awai land

By November 27, 2022Top Stories


THE Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) finally passed the resolution requested by the executive department authorizing Mayor Belen Fernandez to apply for retention and select the five- hectare retention area of the 29-hectare land bought by the Dagupan City government in March 2002 in Barangay Awai in San Jacinto town for P16 million during the administration of the late Mayor Benjamin Lim.

Councilor Alfie Fernandez, the SP chairman on the committee on laws, moved for the adoption of Resolution No. 7981-2022 that also authorizes Mayor Fernandez to nominate preferred beneficiaries and to attest tenants, lessees and regular farmworkers (if any) in accordance with existing rules and regulations of R.A. 6657 as amended by RA 9700 with respect to the property of Dagupan covered by Tax Declaration No. 3-000-04514 located in Barangays Awai and Bolo in San Jacinto, placed under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

However, Mayor Fernandez said the resolution may have come too late for her request in late September since the 30-day deadline for the selection of the five-hectare retention area from September 20, 2022, the day she was informed by DAR officials, already lapsed.

She also disputed a portion in the resolution that  stated that the certificate of finality of the decision of the DAR Secretary to place the 29-hectare land bought by the city had lapsed “without a Motion for Reconsideration or Appeal being filed”.

Fernandez pointed out that a motion for reconsideration and even an appeal for the exemption of the property from the coverage of CARP was filed during the administration of then Mayor Alipio Fernandez Jr. and with her as then vice mayor to ensure that the P16 million used to buy the property by the Lim administration would not go to waste.

She said that as presiding officer of the  Sangguniang Panlungsod, the body passed a resolution authorizing the city legal office then headed by Atty. George Mejia to file the motion for reconsideration and to appeal that the property be exempted from the coverage of CARP but both were denied.

And during her first term as Mayor in 2013, Fernandez said she directed Atty, Mejia, as city legal officer, to exert all legal means to recover the property but these efforts went to naught as the property was already tenanted when bought.

And when the payment for the  property being bought by the administration of then Mayor Benjamin Lim, a resolution, authored by then Councilors Joey Tamayo and Farah Decano was passed by Sangguniang Panlungsod, then presided by Vice Mayor Alvin Fernandez,  calling on the city administration to hold the payment in abeyance because the transaction had unresolved legal problems but the Lim administration nevertheless proceeded in paying the same.

“Pag sinabi nilang hindi ko idinepensa ang pag-recover ng property when I already became mayor, I can say we did everything to recover but DAR already decided,” she said.

“So why didn’t Mayor (Benjamin) Lim direct his then legal officer to file a motion for reconsideration and sought the exemption of the property  from coverage of CARP during his first two terms as mayor of Dagupan City and when he came back as mayor three years later from 2010 to 2013?” Mayor Fernandez asked in refuting the resolution’s claim.

Fernandez succeeded Lim as mayor of Dagupan in 2013 till 2019 and came back as mayor after three years. (Leonardo Micua)

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