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Trolls attack lawyer presenting anomalies of Tabuk LGU, XRC deal

Updated: Nov 17, 2021



Tabuk City, Kalinga – After correcting misinformation and disinformation spreading on social media regarding the controversial building of XRC mall and public market development in Bulanao, Attorney Dianne Cos-agon Pugao caught the attention of trolls who are now launching attacks against her.


Online trolls started attacking the lawyer when she spoke up on Facebook last October 22 after the page of Mayor Darwin Estrañero posted answers on frequently asked questions regarding the building of mall and modernization of the Bulanao public market.


Among the questions answered, which have been deleted, was why the LGU is going to pay the real property tax (RPT) and not the XRC.


“Ang responsibilidad ng pagbayad ng Real Property Tax ay nasa may-ari ng lupa. Dito po, ang LGU ng Tabuk City ang may-ari ng lupa ng market at ang tatayuan ng mall. Hindi po ililipat ang ownership ng lupa sa XRC. Dahil ang LGU ang may-ari ng lupa, sila din po ang magbabayad ng Real Property Tax,” the page answered.


Pugao’s take on RPT exemption


The lawyer first pointed that there is no tax for government-owned properties. However, when the government will allow a private entity to use government property, the private entity will have to pay tax. This, she said, is according to Section 234 (a) of the Local Government Code.


Pugao discussed that apart from the real property tax, there is also a Special Education Fund (SEF) Tax, which is usually 1% just like the RPT.


She said that if the combined value of a mall is considered as ‘real property’ as well as the lot where it is constructed is P650 million, the government will be losing P13 million, should the taxpayer will be exempted for RPT and a Special Education Fund (SEF) and the LGU will be the one to pay for it.


Why Contract of Lease?


In a separate post on October 24, Pugao tackled about the contract of lease, saying that ‘lease’ is applicable when a property owner will allow another person to ‘use’ his or her property in exchange for money.


With the building of XRC mall, the LGU’s part is to allow XRC to use the lot at Bulanao Public Market for the construction of XRC mall in exchange for P2 million yearly within 30-50 years.


But as for the part of XRC, their obligation is not just to pay but rather they are going to build and operate the mall and transfer the ownership of the mall to the LGU after 30-50 years.


If this is the case, then the contract should be the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Contract, or it could be Joint Venture.


Read: https://www.facebook.com/dianne.bernadeth/posts/4850412851645091


‘I have no political patronage’


Due to these posts, online trolls came after her on Facebook and some of the accusations include the lawyer having a personal grudge against the mayor.


In response to this issue, Atty. Pugao said that the mayor is close to her father’s family. However, she pointed that this has no connection with the mayor’s services to the public and his personal undertakings.


“Nu anya man ti kasasaad ko tatta, it’s because of my own personal effort and hard work, rather than by asking favors or patronizing politicians. I have no political patronage, so I can look at the issues fairly. I acted within my freedom of expression,” she stressed.



Licensed Customs Broker and Lawyer not a Supplier


Among the recent accusations being thrown at Pugao is she allegedly tried to sell facemask, face shield, and PPEs to the Tabuk City Health Office and that when the latter didn’t buy it, she then donated these materials.


The troll also asserted that the lawyer held this against the mayor. This is why she is trying to get back at him by criticizing his programs.


Meanwhile, Pugao expressed disgust to these dummies who put malice on initiatives and would fabricate stories.


She said that along with other professionals and yKalingas, during the start of the pandemic, they organized a donation drive where then they collated all the donations from Manila. She added that she had a private conversation with the mayor about this and that he was aware of the donation drive. Moreover, she said that the mayor was also added in one of their group chats.


Among the donated items include thermal scanners at P3,200, PPEs, alcohol, face masks, face shields, gloves, and others.


“Kendakayo nga dummies, stop what you are doing because you are hurting the reputation of the person you’re trying to protect,” she wrote.


The lawyer further stressed she is not a supplier of medical items and other goods, “Licensed Customs Broker at Lawyer po ako. Wala po akong lisensya to engage in the sale of medical/pharmaceutical items.”



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