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Lalayas na kami! Rufino-Prietos give up in legal battle over Mile Long

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The Rufino-Prieto family has waved the white flag in the years-long battle to retain control of the Mile Long property in Makati City.

Sunvar Realty Inc., a real estate company owned by the family, said on Wednesday (August 16) it will vacate the property after Solicitor General Jose Calida served the “Notice to Vacate” on the premises.

The notice was issued by the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 141 pursuant to a decision promulgated by the Court of Appeals directing the former to order Sunvar to vacate Mile Long and pay back the dues it owes the government.

“While Sunvar has appealed the MeTC (Metropolitan Trial Court) decision, it is committed to abiding by the legal process. In accordance with that commitment, Sunvar will comply and vacate Mile Long,” the company said.

President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly slammed the Rufino-Prietos, the current owners of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, for holding on to Mile Long even if its lease contract with the government expired in 2002.

The President said he will wrest control of the property from the Rufino-Prietos, and make them legally liable for refusing to hand it over.

The government and the National Power Corporation (Napocor) leased the property from the Technology Resource Center Foundation Inc. in 1977.

TRCFI, in turn, leased the property to Sunvar.

The Rufino-Prietos’ real estate company said it had the understanding that the lease period would expire in 2027.

“Sunvar paid 16.8 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. 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,” it said.

Sunvar insisted that the lease contract it signed with TRCFI was a “legitimate commercial transaction” even if the government entity was dissolved in 2002.

Napocor said at that time it will not renew the lease contract with TRCFI, which was due to expire in the same year.

Sunvar said it pursued legal remedies to avoid being ejected from the property on the belief that the government will follow the understanding that the lease contract will expire in 2027.

“Sunvar understands that the government has taken an opposite view. Sunvar continues to have faith in the law and legal process,” it said.