THE Social Security System (SSS) on Tuesday lauded the Supreme Court’s (SC) issuance of a “status quo ante order” (SQAO) which temporarily prohibits the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to expropriate the entire 6.5-ha property of the pension fund in Pasay City.
“We are very much thankful with the decision of the SC favoring our prayers to disallow NGCP to take over our members’ land in Financial Center in Pasay City. This may be a partial victory for our part but this is a big step in protecting our members’ interests,” Social Security Commission (SSC) Chairman Amado D. Valdez said.
In a resolution dated June 21, the high court’s Third Division issued the SQAO against the decision of Pasay City Regional Trial Court Branch 108 allowing NGCP to expropriate a part of the SSS property in Diokno Ave., in Pasay City.
“The Court further resolves to grant the petitioner’s prayer for the issuance of status quo ante order and/or writ of preliminary mandatory injunction and to issue a status quo ante order effective immediately as of this date and continuing until further orders from this Court,” the SC order read.
“Now, therefore, you, your agents, representatives and any person or persons actin upon your order or in your place or stead, are hereby enjoined from implementing the orders dated March 2, 2017 and April 24, 2017 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 108 Pasay City,” the SC added.
Likewise, SC ordered NGCP to submit its comments on the petition of SSS within 10 days from the receipt of notice.
“…the Court, without necessarily giving due course thereto, resolves to require respondents to comment thereon (not to file a motion to dismiss) within a non-extendible period of 10 days from notice,” it read.
In a previous statement, Valdez said that based on consultations with energy industry experts, NGCP does not need to expropriate as much as 6.5-ha of land to construct its 230kV substation. He referred to the Doña Imelda Substation formerly known as Araneta Substation in Quezon City which is a 900mV substation that used only 2,000 square meters of land.
“Various consultations with our friends in the energy sector showed that NGCP have constructed a bigger substation with 900mV before and did not use more than two hectares of land. People in the industry are wondering why need a land which is more than what is required for that purpose,” Valdez said.
Valdez earlier also warned NGCP that they may lose their land acquisitions prior to its move to expropriate the pension fund’s property in Pasay City if the SC will decide in favor of SSS.
“Aside from losing the property of ours they wish to expropriate, if the SC decide in our favor, I think other land acquisitions made by them should also be reviewed,” Valdez said.
SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel F. Dooc also welcomed the high court’s decision and is hoping that the SSS will win the fight for the pension fund’s current and future members.
“We welcomed with gratitude the decision of SC to issue a SQAO and we hope that after due proceedings, it will lead to a permanent victory for the pension fund and its members, “ said Dooc, who reiterated the plans of SSS to establish a hospital and a corporate center in the said property.
SSS Commissioner Pompee La Viña, Chairman of the SSC Investment Committee, said that the fight for this property of SSS members is far from over.
“Rest assured that the current SSS administration will not falter in its efforts to fight for this property until the NGCP threat of expropriation is out of the picture,” La Viña said.
SSS through the Office of the General Corporate Counsel (OGCC) filed a Petition for Certiorari with prayer for the issuance of Status Quo Ante Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Mandatory Injunction with the SC last May.
SSS’ action was prompted by the issuance of a Writ of Possession by Branch 108 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City over its prime property consisting of 60,872 square meters located at Diokno Avenue owned by its 34 million members.
SSS raised the issue of the propriety of NGCP as a private corporation, to expropriate public property already devoted to public purpose.
“This case would put into test the power of expropriation, which belongs to the national government, being exercised by a private corporation,” he added. SSS MEDIA AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT
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