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‘RJ’ insists on right to Makati, Tagaytay lots

Friday, August 14, 2009 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES [ BusinessWorld Online ]

THE SUPREME Court (SC) has already ruled that two prime properties being contested by the Philippine National Bank (PNB) should, in the meantime, be in the possession of RJ Ventures Realty and Development Corp., the company chairman, Ramon Jacinto said yesterday.

A recent Court of Appeals decision ordering the return of the properties to the Lucio C. Tan-led bank "disregards completely the Supreme Court ruling that ’status quo ante’ should prevail among all collaterals, which means the status before foreclosure should prevail while a trial on the merits proceeds," he said.

In a 32-page decision penned by Associate Justice Romeo F. Barza, the eighth division of the appellate court nullified an execution order issued by the Makati City Regional Trial Court that retained the two properties in the possession of Mr. Jacinto’s firm.

The two properties are the 8,000-square-meter "Buendia property" found at the corner of Paseo de Roxas and Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenue in Makati, and the "Tagaytay property" at Barrio Maharlika in Tagaytay.

"The court is simply perplexed as to how the respondent court could have ordered the restoration of possession of the Buendia and Tagaytay properties, which have already been foreclosed by petitioner bank ... ," the appellate court said.

RJ Ventures bought the Makati property from First Women’s Credit Corp. sometime in 1996. It obtained loans from PNB. Some of the properties of affiliate Rajah Broadcasting Network, Inc. were used as collateral, including broadcast equipment as well as the Tagaytay property.

The Makati trial court later foreclosed the properties in favor of PNB. RJ Ventures however managed to get a stay order with regard to the collateral. The high court also sided with RJ Ventures.

In its decision, however, the appellate court said there was "nothing in the said SC decision, nor from the said decision of this court, about the restoration of possession over the [properties]."

Mr. Jacinto, who will seek a reconsideration, said: "If RJ Ventures Realty is not yet in default how can some collaterals be foreclosed and some returned when it all stems from one transaction? If you take a house illegally, how can you just return the garage?"

He also lambasted the appellate court’s decision, which made use of another lower court ruling denying his request for the execution of the high court’s decision.

"With all due respect, [the author, Romeo F. Barza] should have considered our argument that [the trial court decision penned by Judge Joselito Villarosa] was part of tainted records with snow-paqued pages which were probably inserted last minute and which we don’t consider part of the official records. So Justice Barza based his decision on a spurious document," RJ Ventures lawyer Dennis Manzanal said. — Ira P. Pedrasa


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