Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez is urging Congress to oppose the reported plan to sell four Philippine properties in Tokyo and Kobe, Japan.
In Resolution No. 1220, Rodriguez said that Congress should not allow their sale and that Malacañang should not dispose of such assets, which the Philippines acquired from Japan under a reparations agreement on May 9 1956.
He said two of the the properties are located in the Roppongi and Nampedai districts in Tokyo, while the other two are in Kobe.
There are observations that there are attempts again to push for the sale of these properties solely for monetary gain, guised under the need to fund the payment of veterans’ pension.
Rodriguez cited the recent revelation of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. of an alleged plot to use the proceeds from the proposed sale as a “retirement fund of last resort” for some government officials “who’ve run through the budgets of their own agencies.”
The Mindanao lawmaker said previous attempts to unload the assets had prompted the Supreme Court to rule “that the Roppongi property is correctly classified under the Civil Code as properly belonging to the state and intended for some public service.”
He said the tribunal also ruled that the Roppongi asset “is valuable not so much because of the inflated prices fetched by real property in Tokyo but more so because of its symbolic value to all Filipinos – veterans and civilians alike.”
He further quoted the SC ruling: “Whether or not the Roponggi and related properties will eventually be sold is a policy determination where both the President and Congress must concur. Considering the properties’ importance and value, the laws on conversion and disposition of property of public dominion must be faithfully followed.”
“It is clear in the decision of the Supreme Court that any such conveyance must be authorized and approved by a law enacted by Congress, and that it requires executive and legislative concurrence,” Rodriguez said.
As declared by the high tribunal, the importance of the country’s war reparation assets in Japan “is their symbolic value to all Filipinos,” he said.