‘It’s impractical:’ Senate leaders reject sale of PH properties in Japan
MANILA, Philippines — Senate leaders on Friday opposed any possible sale of Philippine real estate properties in Japan, with one saying that doing so would not be practical.
“It’s impractical to sell those. They are symbols of our diplomatic ties with Japan. Besides, there are many other [government] properties in the [Philippines] that we can sell instead,” Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said in a Viber message to reporters.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has repeatedly thumbed down the sale of the Philippines’ properties in Japan.
Locsin even suggested selling “idle” properties belonging to other agencies or departments.
Locsin’s remarks come after President Rodrigo Duterte brought up the sale of Philippine real estate properties in Japan to augment the government’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response fund.
The Philippine government acquired four properties in Tokyo and Kobe under the war reparation agreement with Japan on May 9, 1956.
These include a 3,179 square-meter property on 306 Roppongi St. 5-Chome Minato-ku, Tokyo; a 2,489.96 sq.m.-Nampeidai property at 11-24 Nampeidai-machi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; a 764.72 sq.m.-Kobe commercial property at 63 Naniwa-cho, Kobe; and a residential property at 1-980-2 Obanoyama-cho, Shinohara, Nada-ku, Kobe.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon agreed with Locsin’s opposition to the sale of the country’s properties.
“I agree with and support Sec Locsin’s position on this issue. As decided by the Supreme Court, it is not for the President to convey valuable real property of the government on his or her own sole will,” Drilon, a former justice secretary, said in a separate message.
“Any such conveyance must be authorized and approved by a law enacted by the Congress,” he added.
Drilon said any move to sell such properties would require executive and legislative concurrence.
“I will oppose the passage of that law in the Senate,” he added.
Drilon further pointed out that considering the importance and value of the said properties, the laws on conversion and disposition of property of public dominion “must be faithfully followed.”
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