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Bob Sobrepeña losing grip on shared property holdings

By Ray S. Eñano | Posted on Dec. 20, 2012 at 12:01am
Businessman Robert John “Bob” Sobrepeña of the Fil-Estate Group, after running out of friends in Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club in Carmona, Cavite, may soon lose control of his remaining golf clubs and real estate possessions.
The grapevine said President Benigno Aquino III himself had taken interest in the complaints against Bob, especially the businessman’s public squabble with the Bases Conversion Development Authority over the non-payment of lease rentals to the state agency.
The BCDA board recently met with some disgruntled members of the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club in Carmona, Cavite, presumably to build the agency’s case against Bob. The grapevine said BCDA was serious in seeking redress from any unlawful business practice that had taken place in its jurisdiction and pursuing criminal and administrative actions against individuals mocking its authority.
President Aquino, meanwhile, is creating a task force on justice and internal revenue to zero in on Bob, who has refused to pay his rental dues to the BCDA. “I think what President Aquino is trying to do this time is to corral hoodlums in business suits, much like his campaign against hoodlums in robes,” one source said.
Trouble in golf courses
Camp John Hay may prove to be Bob’s biggest headache but the hazards he faces in several golf courses are equally daunting. His tussle with the reform group of Southwoods was well-publicized, culminating in the suspension of members for one year beginning June 15, after the reformist group questioned the management and leadership of Bob’s group.
Bob’s woes are not limited to Southwoods. Over at the Forest Hills Residential Estates and Golf & Country Club in Cogeo, Antipolo City, lot owner Johnson Ong canceled his joint venture agreement with Fil-Estate Land Inc., which has been renamed Global-Estate Resorts Inc., after tycoon Andrew Tan acquired a 60-percent stake in Fil- Estate Land. The spat left golfers and members with little privileges and amenities, except perhaps the cool fresh mountain air of Antipolo.
The Sherwood Hills Golf Club in Trece Martirez City, Cavite, however, is a different story. Things have turned around in the 18-hole golf course after a new management team took over, Southwood’s  reform group noted.  From a monthly operating expenditure of some P5.5 million to P6 million, the club is now just spending P3.5 million to P4.2 million.
Southwoods’ members said Sherwood posted savings on security and golf course maintenance expenses. Bob’s team used to take care of the supply of security guards and maintenance services and equipment of Sherwood. Southwoods members sighed that Sherwoods was now in a much better condition than in the past and that golf share values were appreciating.
The discontented Southwoods golfers are hoping that tycoon Andrew Tan will become more active in handling the affairs of the golf courses he inherited from Bob. Tan indirectly owns two subsidiaries of Global-Estate, after purchasing a 60-percent interest in the erstwhile Sobrepeña company. These are Fil-Estate Properties Inc. and Fil-Estate Golf and Development Inc., which are both engaged in the development of residential subdivisions, townhouses, golf course communities, condominiums, office buildings, industrial estates and resort communities.

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