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Grand Boulevard’s tax payment ignored

[ ] January 31-February 1, 2009

The owner of Grand Boulevard Hotel has offered to pay P6.2 million in realty taxes but Manila City Hall looks the other way.

The Silahis International Hotel Inc., principal, earlier filed a civil case to rehabilitate the establishment on Roxas Boulevard.

Hotel operations stopped on July 9, 2008, after the local government took over as the Treasurer’s Office issued a warrant of levy over the failure to settle tax arrears.

Silahis filed a suit asking the Manila Regional Trial Court to declare that it has redeemed its tax obligations, following the city treasurer’s refusal to accept payment.

Silahis counsel Augusto Arreza said City Hall started forfeiture proceedings leading to its acquisition of Grand Boulevard at a public auction sale on Jan. 30, 2008.

“Preparatory to exercising its right to redeem the hotel property, SIHI reportedly sought from the Treasurer’s Office a statement of account which shows that the plaintiff’s total obligations due is P6,119, 566.19,” the petition said.

“Thus, on January 9, this year, the corporation reportedly tendered payment to the City Hall [which] refused... the payment without even justifying such refusal,” the Silahis petition stated.

“And on January 15, SIHI reportedly notified the Treasurer’s Office of its resort to... judicial consignation of the P6.2 million in full settlement of its real property tax obligations.”

Lat Jan. 6, unsecured creditors sought in court a stay of Grand Boulevard’s rehabilitation.

“Herminio Valerio... filed the petition on behalf of some fellow unsecured creditors who are owed P507 million,” the Silahis petition noted amid a court-approved plan.

The corporation’s debt to the unsecured creditors is pegged at 25.20 percent of Silahis liabilities.

Valerio says his co-creditors are “entitled to bring the petition for rehabilitation pursuant to Rule 4, Section 1 of the Interim Rules of Procedure on Corporate Rehabilitation.”

He noted that on Oct. 15, 2004, Silahis filed its rehabilitation plan before the Manila court, proposing a reduction of the P2.015-billion indebtedness by P727.515 million converted to “equity and restructuring,” or the balance due to secured creditors, and the rest of claimants to be repaid over a 10-year period.

But Valerio and his co-creditors are pressing for a better plan despite an “analysis of SIHI’s revenue and debt-service projections [showing] that the SIHI is forecast to be able to repay the reduced amount of P1.226 billion.” Michael Caber


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