Press Release
December 26, 2007


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Nene" Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today warned that the Arroyo administration will find itself being hounded by another scandal if it will insist on revoking its original decision to award the development of the government-owned 2,488-square meter Nampeidei property in Tokyo in favor of another party.

The Nampeidei property, located in the Sibuya District in Tokyo, was among the properties acquired by the Philippine government as part of the Japanese war reparations.

On Oct. 26, 2006, the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) formed by the Philippine government awarded the development right to the Nampeidei property to the Nagayama-Teisei Consortium. The deal would have earned P5 billion for the Philippine government in development fees.

All six members of BAC signed the award order. They were Undersecretary Gabby Mendoza of the Department of Finance, Undersecretary Manuel Gaite of the Office of the President, Undersecretary Franklin Ebdalin of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Asst. Secretary Laura Pascua of the Department of Budget and Management, Undersecretary Ernesto Pineda of the Department of Justice and Asst. Secretary Bashir Rashuman of the Department of Public Works and Highways.

Subsequently, Nagayama Consortium signed a power of attorney in favor of Masaichi Tsuchiya for the development of the property. However, Nagayama and Masaichi later quarreled over the deal prompting the former to revoke the power-of-attorney.

Despite the revocation, the Arroyo government still opted to recognize the right of Masaichi to develop the property. This was spelled out in an order signed on June 26, 2007 by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita based on a resolution signed by only three members of the BAC - Mendoza, Gaite and Ebdalin.

Pimentel said Ermita order, in effect, reversed the BAC's original decision awarding the development of the Nampeidei property to Nagayama Consortium.

But the original contractor for the project is questioning the validity of the reversal especially considering that only three of the six BAC members - and therefore not a majority - signed the resolution recognizing the power of attorney of Masaichi.

Pimentel urged Malacañang to exercise utmost caution in revoking the deal with the original contractor in view of its potentially embarrassing effects on the government.

"They should go slow about reversing what has been legitimately granted. Otherwise, there would be problems for the administration," he said.

The minority leader said the government can ill afford another scandal which can impair its international credibility. He noted that the government has barely recovered from the adverse repercussions of the controversy over the mothballed Ninoy Aquino International Airport - Terminal 3. The government was sued by the contractor, Philippine International Air Terminals Company (PIATCO) and its foreign partner Fraport of Germany after it voided the airport contract.

Pimentel said that just because there was a feud between Nagayama and its partner does not mean that the power of attorney should prevail.

"If the power of attorney was unjustly revoked, the holder of this legal instrument may be entitled to some kind of damage claim," he said.

"But the government should not ram through the idea of disregarding the original award without sufficient basis."

The Nampeidei property, located in an exclusive residential district, has been offered by the Philippine for commercial development to generate income just like the Roppongi property now an office building complex, which it also owns. At present the Nampeidei property is being used only as a storage facility by the Philippine embassy.

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