SBMA executives face another issue over Subic golf course
According the Pangan, SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza was even seen in Hong Kong together with the Korean who was reportedly interested in the SBGC.
During the hearing, members of the committee ganged up on the SBMA officials for the eviction of UIG, which has invested a billion pesos in the golf course in the former United States Naval Base, without undergoing the necessary legal process.
This after the counsel for SBMA admitted before the congressional inquiry yesterday that they forcibly evicted the UIG of Taiwan owned by the Ho family, as lessor of a golf course from the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, without any court order, after the latter incurred millions of pesos in arrears from non-payment of rental.
Lawyer Ramon Agregado also admitted the eviction was made even without the SBMA exerting any legal effort to collect by filing a collection case against the UIG for its debt totaling P47 million.
Aggravating the situation is the fact that the UIG had been able to solicit a writ of preliminary injunction for the court to bar the SBMA from issuing a cease and desist order against the beleaguered locator.
House oversight committee chairman, Makati City Rep. Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin and Zambales province Rep. Mitos Magsaysay both said that “unlawful and uncalled for” acts of SBMA officials toward Taiwanese investors may drive away potential investors in the future.
The committee initiated the inquiry after Northern Samar Rep. Emil Ong filed House Resolution 223, which seeks to immediately investigate the alleged ejection of the UIG from the Subic golf course.
According to Ong, the SBMA officials showed arrogance, abuse and violation of human rights when it did not allow the company to settle its unpaid obligations and immediately took over the golf course.
Locsin also lambasted the SBMA officials for asking the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID) to deport the Ho Family for being “undesirable aliens.”
“It is really a cheap shot to deport foreign investors just to take him away from the court in order not to meet them face to face. That is not the proper way to deal with the investors,” he said.
Locsin then asked the SBMA to withdraw the deportation request against the Ho Family because it is unlawful and unfair.
He also took a dig at SBMA chairman Feliciano Salonga, who arrogantly told the lawmakers to “do their homework instead of articulating inflammatory speeches against the SBMA officials.”
“Yes Mr. Chairman, but I would like to remind you that you have been dealing low blows and cheap shots against the UIG for requesting to deport the Hos just as so they won’t be able to confront you in court for your actions against them,” Locsin told Salonga.
In 1992, upon the invitation of then President Fidel Ramos, the UIG invested a total of P1 billion for the 50-year leasehold right over the Binictican golf course with an appropriated area of 105 hectares.
But in 1997, following the Asian financial crisis, the SBMA took over the business operations due to failure of the UIG to fulfill its development commitments.
In January 2001, the UIG entered into a compromise agreement with the SBMA, under then Chairman Felicito Payumo, where the UIG was allowed to regain possession of the golf course with reduction of the lease area, rental and modification of UIG’s development commitments, to which lessor, according to its counsel, lawyer Wilfred Pangan, has willfully complied through the issuance of post-dated cheques.
But in December 2006, the SBMA, under Salonga, again demanded for the UIG to resolve its current rental obligations, which it claimed has ballooned to P47 million, giving the lessor 10 days to settle its account, otherwise face eviction.
But UIG argued it could not meet the deadline imposed by SBMA and sought court intervention through a writ of preliminary injunction which the court granted.
Aside from contesting that their total obligations to SBMA only amounts to “only” P11 million, UIG counsel Pangan added that the SBMA refused to accept their payment in the form of post-dated cheques.