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Court stops eviction of Isetann mall from LRT lot in Manila

Posted on 09:24 PM, March 15, 2010 [ BusinessWorld Online ]

THE MANILA Regional Trial Court has stopped the state-run Light Railway Transit Authority (LRTA) from evicting Isetann Department Store, Inc. from government-owned property in Sta. Cruz, Manila.

In a three-page resolution, Branch 22 Judge Silvino Pampilo, Jr. said “after a careful and judicious evaluation of the contentions of both parties, this Court is convinced that preliminary injunction is necessary to preserve the status quo until the merits can be heard and in order not to render ineffectual whatever judgment may be issued by this court.”

The preliminary injunction will take effect only upon the mall’s filing of a bond worth P300,000, he said.

LRTA owns the 1,461.7-square-meter Claro M. Recto Avenue property where the department store stands. In 1982, the government-owned and -controlled corporation gave the Philippine General Hospital, Inc.

the authority to “establish, manage, or supervise the management and operation of the commercial concessions adjacent to [train] stations.”

The hospital was also allowed to sublease or assign its rights to another company. Thus, the hospital entered into a sub-lease agreement with Joy Mart Consolidated Corp. in 1984. This covered a 25-year agreement, renewable for another 25 years.

The latter then transferred its rights and interests to Isetann. In 1986, LRTA cancelled its agreement with the hospital. Subsequently, it asked Joy Mart to pay directly to it the rentals under the sub-lease agreement.

With the lease agreement about to expire, Joy Mart informed LRTA last year it intended to renew the contract.

On Oct. 22 last year, LRTA informed Joy Mart it would soon bid out the property to other parties. Isetann was asked to vacate the premises on or before Jan. 7.

Isetann did not budge. A final notice was issued in February.

In its comment, on the other hand, LRTA said Isetann does not have the legal personality to lodge a case.

LRTA also said it would not be able to exercise its right to use the property if the sub-lease agreement is renewed. -- Ira P. Pedrasa


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