Malacañang open to review of Sangley airport deal
Malacañang on Thursday expressed openness to the possible review of the USD10-billion Sangley Point International Airport project following claims that the development contract would be awarded to the lone and favored bidder.
“You must remember that this government has always been open to any complaint,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a press conference, referring to the selection of a private partner for the Sangley Point project.
“The presumption is everything is aboveboard unless you give us proof that it is not, then we come in,” he added.
Panelo made the remark after The Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI), in its Jan. 30 article, claimed that there were “indications” that the lone bidder, the tandem of Lucio Tan’s MacroAsia Corp. and China Communications Construction Corp. (CCCC), for the airport deal in Cavite was “favored from the beginning.”
The PDI report cited sources, who claimed that several bidders backed out of their plan to participate in transforming the former air force base in Sangley Point, Cavite due to the project’s supposed “subjective criteria and rushed selection process.”
The report also claimed that bidders were given only over two months, instead of at least six months to a year, to prepare their respective proposals before the Dec. 17, 2019 deadline.
The source, as quoted by PDI, said: “It was clear to us that the project is really for China.”
It was announced in December last year that the MacroAsia-CCCC consortium was the sole bidder for the project that aims to develop Sangley airport into a world-class international gateway.
Panelo, also Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, said it was not surprising for the tandem of MacroAsia-CCCC to be the “chosen one,” if it qualifies from developing the Sangley Point International Airport.
“You must remember that the bidding process has certain conditions. So bidders have to comply with the conditions,” he said.
“So if the Chinese company has complied with all the requirements unlike others then necessarily the Chinese company will be the chosen one,” Panelo added.
MacroAsia-CCCC consortium was among the seven groups that expressed their intent to bid by acquiring joint venture documents that were issued on Oct. 11, 2019.
The six other groups that dropped out of the race were Metro Pacific Investments Corp., Prime Asset Ventures, Philippine Airport Ground Solutions Inc., Langham Properties Inc., Mosveldtt Law Offices, and Megawide Construction Corp.
Panelo said any “valid” complaints are welcome since it would pave the way for the possible conduct of an investigation into issues surrounding the Sangley Point International Airport project.
“We encourage people to complain so that we will know what the anomalies there are. If they have a valid complaint, why not and they should,” he said.
The Sangley Point International Airport project, a 1,500-hectare master-planned international airport hub, is being undertaken by the Cavite government under the Public-Private Partnership Code.
The project will feature for runways, airside and landside facilities that can accommodate more than 100 million passengers annually.