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Sotto denies any part in Capitol Hills

[ ] June 23, 2009

Dangerous Drugs Board chairman Vicente Sotto III has denied any role in the alleged violations of the Capitol Hills Golf and Country Club.

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed criminal charges before the Department of Justice against 15 officials of Capitol Hills, including Sotto, a former senator, former Agrarian Reform Secretary Horacio Morales and Quezon City Rep. Matias Defensor Jr. for allegedly understating by more than P360 million the money the club had received from an Ayala Land venture.

The commission said the officers of Capitol made entries in their audited financial statements for 1996 up to 2006.

In a statement, Sotto said he should be excluded because he was no longer with Capitols Hills when the transactions took place.

“I filed my resignation in July 24, 1997 as official of the Capitol Hills Golf Club and I cannot be part of any transaction if I am no longer a member of the Board,” he said.

“I am planning to file a petition to exclude my name in the SEC complaint filed before the DoJ since I am one of the complainants on the issue.”

Based on Capitol Hills’ audited statement in 1992, the club and Ayala Land Inc. signed a deal in which it gave a parcel of land to Ayala that it could develop and subdivide and later sell.

Capitol Hills would get from Ayala Land 40 percent of the gross selling price from the sale of the lots.

Capitol Hills received P30 million in advance payment from Ayala Land and another P10 million in 1995. In 1996, it signed another deal allowing Ayala Land to develop about one-half of its properties, and Ayala advanced money for the club to buy 140 hectares of land in Rodriguez, Rizal, to be developed into a 36-hole golf course.

But the SEC said Capitol Hills understated its cash advances from Ayala Land by P361.63 million for the period 1992 to 2004.

Ayala Land certified that it advanced P926,482,551 to Capitol Hills from 1992 to 2004, but Capitol Hills declared only P564,852,013. Rey E. Requejo


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