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Tadeco debunks ‘coercion’ claim of House leadership

 Alex Valoria, president and chief executive officer of Tagum Agricultural Development Company Inc. (Tadeco) has taken exception to claims that the company has been suggesting that the House leadership has coerced three government agencies, which declared the joint venture agreement (JVA) between Tadeco and Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).
The three offices referred to are the Commission on Audit (CoA), the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).
“While we maintain the deal with BuCor is a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) and the contract legally negotiated, we take care not to muddle the issues as we only want to present arguments that are accurate, rational, and valid,” Valoria said.
Reacting to the comment of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez that Tadeco is the only one claiming that the JVA is aboveboard, the company executive retorted, saying “we base our arguments on the approvals of the government authorities at the time the JVA was executed and the applicable laws and jurisprudence of the Philippines. This is a consensual arrangement, which has stood the test of time. We involve ourselves only in honest business dealings, not in bogus claims.”
Moreover, he clarified, it is not the mission of our organization that is recognized for its best practices to muddle in propaganda issues because “it is contrary to our corporate values to malign and mislead, or argue issues without legal basis.”
On the issue of the JVA’s renewal Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre III has even admitted that the renewal of the JVA between the BuCor and Tadeco in 2004 had the stamp of approval of two secretaries of the DoJ, which validates Tadeco’s position that the new 25-year period of the contract will extend up to 2029.
Aguirre said that while the signatory to the JVA renewal was then Justice Undersecretary Ramon Liwag, it was approved by Justice Secretary Simeon Datumanong. A subsequent review done on the JVA and the resulting addendum to the agreement was again approved by then Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, Aguirre added.
The Justice secretary made this disclosure upon questioning by Rep. Henry Oaminal during the joint hearing last week of the House committee on good government and public accountability and the House committee on justice on the BuCor-Tadeco deal.
At the hearing, lawmakers took turns questioning Aguirre on the validity of the deal but the Justice secretary failed to answer some of their concerns, particularly on the details of how the DoJ concluded that the agreement was a lease and tenancy deal, which Tadeco said it was not. Aguirre said he needed more time to study these matters.
The lawmakers also heard the statement of Valoria, but gave no opinion on his position on the issue nor whether they were convinced about the arguments presented by the DoJ and Tadeco during the hearing.
Oaminal had asked Aguirre if the contract between BuCor and Tadeco was approved by the DoJ.
After initially stammering on his answer and checking documents, Aguirre said “per information from our Chief State Counsel, (the JVA) was approved by Secretary Datumanong, then secretary of justice. Then, if that is the case, then it is approved by the secretary of justice.”
When Oaminal asked if the addendum to the JVA was also approved by then Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, Aguirre said: “That’s correct.”
A DoJ opinion on the BuCor-Tadeco deal has erroneously claimed that the JVA should end in 2019.  The DoJ opinion said that since Tadeco started entering into contracts with BuCor in 1969, this means that another 25-year renewal of the agreement will start in 1994 and end in 2019.
Valoria, however, has clarified that a new 25-year term under its JVA with BuCor should start in 1979, when the two parties consolidated the contracts signed between them on various dates from 1969 to 1978. Thus, the renewal should be reckoned in 2004 and the 25-year period should end in 2029, he said.
Valoria said both BuCor and Tadeco deemed it best to “novate all the documents and come up with one new single Joint Venture Agreement in 1979” because of the complications of multiple documents and addenda governing their team-up.
Aguirre’s statements at the hearing validated Valoria’s position.

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