Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Palafox’s allegations baseless and absurd

THIS IS IN REACTION TO THE INQUIRER’S Dec.3 editorial and news items on the unfair allegations made by Architect Felino Palafox in connection with the hotel-casino project (Grand Utopia) that a Korean investor proposes to put up at the Subic bay Freeport (SBF).

We are not asking Palafox to prove his allegations of what the editorial called “official extortion”; we are only asking him to produce enough details that would allow us to probe his claims. His inputs—if really meant well to bring this issue to a productive resolution—will help a lot in the investigation the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is conducting.

While the editorial sympathized with the “troubling realities” Palafox could be facing now, it overlooked the fact that clamming up after making an expose won’t ferret out the truth from a vague and blanket allegation and do justice to anyone, especially the SBMA.

For the record, we have great respect for Palafox who is “the only Filipino in the top 500 architects in the world.” This was precisely the reason we recommended him to the Korean hotel developer.

However, he did himself a great disservice by making statements that were reckless and absurd. Aside from his yarn about my 10-year-old son asking for an 18-percent commission from his firm, there are no century-old trees at the project site, and as we have categorically stated, no trees would be cut to make way for the project.

We also would like everyone to know that Palafox, through his outfit Palafox and Associates, and its partner firm Woodfields Consultants, made a bid for the SVF Comprehensive Master Plan Project but list.

The SBMA Bidding Awards Committee (BAC) for Consulting Services did not disqualify him. His firms and its partners made it to the final rounds but somebody else submitted a better bid. And while losing bidders always have the option to move for reconsideration of the BAC’s ruling, Palafox did not.

This all happened last August 2008 and so Palafox’s absurd and unsustainable tale of extortion, etc. is now totally off-key and unrelated to this project. His allegations smacks of gross irresponsibility and a misplaced sense of self-importance.

Having made this allegation of extortion, he must in fairness, at least, give us a name from which to start our investigation and clear those who have been unduly maligned.

It is really amazing that Palafox covered so much ground in so short a time in firing off unbelievable allegations. But what is more amazing is that the consummate professional that he is did not bother to check his basic facts.

This is one issue that has sadly and unfairly tarnished the image of the SBMA. But we live in a society that values the clash of ideas—in the hope that only the best would proper and survive for the good of all.

With this, we welcome comments and criticisms that are well-meaning, accurate and fair.

Administrator and CEO,
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority

Philippine Daily Inquirer

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