OSG asks Sandiganbayan to deny Cojuangco motion on UCPB shares

- Sandy  Araneta () - August 6, 2007 - 12:00am

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) recently asked the Sandiganbayan to deny for “utter lack of merit” a motion  filed by San Miguel Corp. (SMC) chairman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr. seeking to reconsider a resolution declaring state ownership of the 72.2-percent stake in United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB).

In a 32-page “Comment”, Solicitor General Agnes VST Devanadera also sought for other reliefs to be granted to the government.

She said the court had already disposed of all the disputed UCPB shares in its partial summary judgment in favor of the government.

Cojuangco had filed last June 20 a motion for reconsideration on the court’s decision.

The disputed “UCPB”  shares were reportedly paid  by the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) with public funds later charged to the farmers’ coconut levy funds. 

The OSG also considered as “bereft of merit” Cojuangco’s arguments.

Cojuangco had argued that the Sandiganbayan’s resolution “is a violation of his right to due process.”

He also said that the court’s conclusion is not warranted by the evidence and not justifiable in law.

Cojuangco also argued the court violated his right to be heard.

In their comment, Devanadera  said the partial summary judgment was based on admissions by then parties and on “facts which exist without any substantial controversy” as culled from the exhaustive discussions and manifestations of the parties in open court and their respective pleadings and evidence on record.

“Based on the undisputed facts and those which exist without substantial controversy, the court ruled in its partial summary judgment that  the subject shares of stock of UCPB are conclusively owned by the government,” Devanadera said in their comment.

Devanadera said Cojuangco can neither justify his acquisition of UCPB shares.

Meanwhile, Senate minority leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. cautioned the government against its plan to sell the sequestered coconut levy-funded shares in SMC and to use the proceeds to narrow down the budget deficit and to fund priority projects of the administration.

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