By Benjamin B. Pulta
08/24/2010 [ tribune.net.ph ]
Former Solicitor General Frank Chavez and officials of the upscale Ayala Alabang Village Association (AAVA) have settled their differences.
As a result of the settlement between the parties, they have withdrawn the respective cases that they filed against each other before the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, the Regional Trial Court of Muntinlupa and the Court of Appeals.
State lawyers earlier filed a criminal complaint against AAVA officials following a suit filed by Chavez, accusing the village officials of refusing to return P200,000 in construction bond he paid.
Without objection from land owner Ayala Land Inc., both parties also entered into a Sublease Agreement on even date over the questioned easement whereby Chavez, as sublessee, shall pay AAVA P1 per year until 2025, renewable.
The AAVA governors are Apolinario de los Santos III, Rogelio Santos, Mariano Manas Jr., Miguel Vitorio, Mierado Avisado, Pedro Picornell, Godofredo Victor Juliano, Federico Sarabia III, Roberto Limcaoco, Leandro de Leon, Cynthia Arceo. AAVA and its governors were represented by Roberto Limcaoco, who was duly authorized per Secretary’s Certificate dated May 19, 2010.
RTC-Muntinlupa, which is hearing the estafa case filed by Chavez against the AAVA governors, approved both the MoA and Sub-Lease Agreement between the two parties. The MoA was signed last Aug. 12.
On the bases of the written agreements of the parties and the Affidavit of Desistance executed by Chavez, the court then said, in its Order dated Aug. 12, 2010, that in view of the execution of these documents, the “word ‘Landgrabber’ hurled against Chavez is misplaced and uncalled for.”
Facing estafa charges before the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court were the above mentioned executives, all of whom are officers and members of AAVA board of governors. Bail in the amount of P40,000 each has been recommended for their temporary liberty.
In a six-page resolution, the DoJ through the City Prosecutor of Muntinlupa had recommended the criminal prosecution of the AAVA officers after it found probable cause to indict them for estafa, which is penalized under Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code.
“Finding probable cause against the respondents for estafa under... Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code, it is hereby recommended that they be charged accordingly,”said the resolution promulgated by Assistant City Prosecutor Agripino Baybay III and approved by City Prosecutor Edward Togonon.
The prosecutors noted that indeed AAVA, through its board of governors and officers, received in trust from complainant Chavez the construction bond amounting to P212,000 for the construction of his Sarangani residence in the Ayala Alabang Village sometime in February 1996.
When asked to return the construction bond, respondents adamantly refused, the prosecutors said. “Respondents’ refusal, however, appears to be unjustified given AAVA’s earlier acknowledgment in its letter of Oct. 15, 1999 that complainant’s construction bond was still intact and that, not having incurred any fine or penalty except for certain deductions, he then had a refundable amount of P177,328.34,” the resolution said.
“Respondents’ unjustifiable refusal to return the subject bond to the complainant, thus, raises the presumption of misappropriation on their part of the subject bond,” it added.
Chavez initiated the complaint against AAVA officials after they failed and refused to return his construction bond in the amount of P177,328.34, exclusive of interests, despite his repeated demands.
Instead, the accused claimed that Chavez violated certain provisions of the Deed of Restrictions and will only return his money if he should remedy those violations. Records, however, disclose that AAVA acknowledged that Chavez has a refundable amount of P.177,328.34, less certain deductions that did not even indicate any fine or penalty for any alleged violations of Deed of Restrictions.
According to Chavez, it is AAVA’s serious problem. “If it (AAVA) does not comply with the HLURB Order, its license or registration as an association could either be suspended or canceled by the HLURB and I have a pending motion for such action from HLURB,” he said.