Congress to subpoena ex-Tieza head Lapid

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — Former Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza) General Manager Mark Lapid will be subpoenaed by the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability to appear before the congressional inquiry over the sale of the Philippine Christmas Village (Paskuhan) to Premier Central Incorporated, amounting to P939 million.

This development came after Lapid did not appear before the committee for three consecutive meetings since the inquiry started.

In his letter to the committee, Lapid said he had prior commitments coinciding with the scheduled inquiry. Antipolo City 2nd District Representative Romeo Acop moved to summon Lapid as general manager during the alleged sale irregularities of Paskuhan Village sale to Premier Central Inc.

Tieza’s new General Manager Pocholo Paragas was questioned by Cebu 3rd District Rep. Gwen Garcia questioned on the sale, citing clear provisions under Republic Act 9593 known as the Tourism Act on the right of first refusal that should offer to city government of San Fernando.

Section 54 of the law states that “Tieza, in coordination with the Privatization Council, shall determine which assets shall be put up for sale or lease: Provided, that concerned LGUs [local government units] interested to manage and operate said assets shall have the right of first refusal.”

Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio Gonzales, Jr. earlier sponsored House Resolution 654 calling for a congressional inquiry on the alleged irregularities over the sale of Paskuhan Village to Premier Central Inc.

Gonzales has called to nullify the sale and bring back the property back to the government.

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