SM Prime Holdings Inc. lawyer Patrick Vince Bayhon yesterday said they will study how AyalaLand’s Inc.’s withdrawal of its development plan on the 7.7 hectare property of the Capitol will affect their pending case against the Negros Occidental provincial government.
They have yet to confirm that ALI indeed withdrew from the project, he said.
Bayhon said he did not know if the SMPHI owners will takes steps to pursue their bid to develop the Capitol’s 7.7-hectare property with ALI’s withdrawal.
SMPHI lawyers had filed a suit against Negros Occidental provincial government officials questioning their awarding the lease and sale of the 7.7-hectare property to ALI through a negotiated bid, insisting that their client was the rightful winner of the bidding.
Bayhon said if ALI had withdrawn from the project their petition for an injunction on its lease and purchase of the 7.7 hectare property will no longer be necessary.
"The fact that they withdrew is not necessarily a vindication for SM. In the end, it’s the court which will rule on that," he said.
Frank Carbon, president of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the business community mourns the ALI withdrawal from the project.
“We will mourn for this because that investment, if pushed through, could have created a thousand jobs, direct and indirect … We need more jobs here," he said.
The withdrawal is a terrible setback, billions of pesos were expected to benefit Bacolod City and Negros Occidental had it pushed through, Carbon said.
The ALI project would have created more jobs to help pump prime the local economy, he added.*CPG