MANILA, Philippines – Nearly a decade's worth of battle put up by the Prieto-owned Sunvar Realty Development Corporation ends Wednesday, August 16, as they are waving the white flag and vacating the 2.9-hectare Mile Long property in Makati being claimed by the government.
In a statement on Wednesday, Sunvar said it will "comply and vacate Mile Long" as part of their commitment "to [abide] by the legal process."
Solicitor General Jose Calida personally served the Notice to Vacate Mile Long on Tuesday.
Calida was in possession of a Court of Appeals (CA) resolution issued on August 14 authorizing Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 141 to execute a year-old vacate order.
Calida went with the Makati court sheriff to Mile Long just before 6 pm on Tuesday to serve the notice to tenants of the property.
Currently implementing the writ of execution issued by the CA, ordering Sunvar Realty et al. to vacate the Mile Long property. pic.twitter.com/GcbqxDuz34 — SolGen Jose C Calida (@SolGenCalida) August 15, 2017
Sunvar is currently leasing the property to Premier Cinema, Mile Long Arcade, Makati Creekside Building, The Gallery Building, and Sunvar Plaza, while the rest are open and being used as parking space.
"Sunvar understands that the government has taken an opposite view. Sunvar continues to have faith in the law and legal process," the statement said.
President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to take back Mile Long from the Prieto family.
In one of his strongly-worded public statements against the family and the Philippine Daily Inquirer – now set to be sold to businessman Ramon Ang – Duterte said: "'Yang Mile Long, i-surrender mo 'yan kasi ipagbili ko 'yan (That Mile Long, you surrender it because I'll sell it). I promise you, I will build as many houses as the money can accommodate."
The President said he will put up housing projects for soldiers and poor families on the disputed property.
Disputes began in 2008 when Sunvar refused to vacate the property.
According to the government timeline, the property is owned by the state and the National Power Corporation (Napocor).
They leased the property to Technology Resource Center Foundation Inc (TRCFI) in 1977 for a 25-year contract. It was the TRCFI that subleased portions of the property to the Prieto-owned Sunvar.
Sunvar built establishments and did other works on the property.
"Sunvar paid P16.8 million as advance rentals and expended millions more to build roads, buildings, and infrastructure to develop the property which is why it is so valuable now," they said in the statement.
They added: "Relying on the same contract and understanding, small business owners and taxpayers purchased condominium units in Mile Long that are now the source of their livelihood."
Sunvar said they entered into a "legitimate commercial transaction" which was why they "pursued legal remedies to resist ejectment, firmly believing that there is a binding contractual commitment on the part of the government to honor a lease that is set to expire only in 2027."