Quiambao to Chua: Return to us the old Bayambang Central School
By Virgilio Sar. Maganes
BAYAMBANG- The mayor of this historic town is doing all legal remedies to re-acquire in favor of the municipal government the old site of Bayambang Central School, which was disadvantageously conveyed to a certain Willy Chua by former Mayor Ricardo Camacho in exchange of his property in Bical village.
Mayor Cesar T. Quiambao, who was elected mayor last May, was surprised to know the swift transfer of the property to Chua.
On May 27, 2016, Chua filed a case against the municipal government demanding for the immediate conveyance of the old site of Bayambang Central School or writ of specific performance before the sala of Regional Trial Court Judge Hermogenes Fernandez.
On June 27, a month after the filing of the case, Judge Fernandez handed down the decision in favor of Chua who immediately filed for a writ of execution on July 20.
On August 9, the writ of execution was granted to Chua, citing a Deed of Exchange signed by him and Camacho on August 13, 2013.
On August 30, 2016 , Mayor Quiambao filed a Petition for Relief from Judgment citing that the swapping of land was a “lopsided deal between former Mayor Ricardo Camacho and Mr. Willy Chua and that the land swap did not observe the legal procedures as mandated by law.”
“We want the local government to regain the property.Chua lied to the court and we want the judge to know what happened – that there was fraud in the case filed,” he said.
It will be recalled that sometime in August 2013, under the administration of former Mayor Ricardo Camacho and with the help of the Provincial Legal Officer Geraldine Baniqued, the 3.1 hectare old campus – a prime real estate property which is conservatively worth P465 million– was ‘swapped’ with a 2.2 hectare property in Bical village worth P16 million with a 60-classroom building valued at around P62 million, or a total of around P76 million only, which is owned by Chua.
The 3.1 hectare campus was abandoned when the court ordered the school officials to transfer to the new campus in October 2013 citing the cases of dengue at the time and the perennial flooding in the area during the rainy season.
The main building of the school was burned down at dawn in July 6, 2012.
In November 2014, Bayambang Parents and Teachers Association led by its President Filipinas Alcantara filed a case to invalidate the land swap at the Office of the Ombudsman but lost because Chua said that there was no deed of exchange between Chua and the LGU represented by then mayor Ricardo Camacho.
Quiambao, however, said that there was a signed contract between Chua and Camacho dated August 13, 2013.
“The signed contract for the land swap did not go through the acceptable public bidding process and approval by the Sangguniang Bayan. We even discovered at least three fraudulent signatures. Moreover, the timing between the purported Sanggunian approval and signing of contract raises a lot of suspicion. In other words, the whole thing was done in bad faith. Former Mayor Camacho lied to the people of Bayambang,” Quiambao said.
Quiambao further said that the town lost to Chua and company because Bayambang’s own lawyer, Provincial Legal Officer Geraldine Baniqued, “surrendered the ball to the other side.”
“She did not even inform me of the legal developments on the case, so the window of opportunity for the municipality under my administration to make a legal response lapsed. The result was we woke one day to this totally unpleasant surprise just when we were about to get more hopeful for an eventual takeover,” he said.
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