Explain deal, hgc asked
(The Philippine Star) - February 1, 2015 - 12:00am

Businessman Reghis Romero II, who is currently at the center of a controversy involving a legal battle against his eldest son Michael, has found himself embroiled in another dispute.

The Coalition of Filipino Consumers has asked state agency Home Guaranty Corp. (HGC) to explain reports that the group of Reghis Romero has asked the agency to enter into a deal that would absolve the Romero group of any legal liability in connection with the controversial Smokey Mountain Development Reclamation Project (SMDRP) that was implemented during the Ramos administration.

CFC secretary-general Perfecto Tagalog warned HGC against entering into a “compromise agreement with the camp of Romero as the move clearly steps on the rights of the stakeholders, particularly, the families who lived in the country’s biggest dump.”

CFC is an advocacy group seeking to protect the rights of consumers and policing government contracts with private groups to ensure that public rights are protected. HGC is an attached agency of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).

Tagalog said the HGC, which he said has been silent on the matter, also owes the Filipino people an explanation on the status of the case of Romero with the Court of Appeals.

ERomero’s R-II Builders and the National Housing Authority in 1993 signed a contract for the development of Smokey Mountain. HGC acted as government guarantor of the project. Romero’s group claimed that HGC did not fulfill its duty as a guarantor. But HGC alleged it was R-II Builders that did not comply with all the conditions of the agreement.

Romero, former executive officer of the Harbour Centre Port Holdings Inc. (HCPHI), is engaged in a legal dispute with state-owned HGC over the failed completion of the P6.7-billion Smokey Mountain mass-housing project.

Last year, in a 48-page consolidated ruling penned by Associate Justice Magdangal de Leon, the CA’s 10th Division denied petitioners R-II Builders and HCPHI’s consolidated petitions seeking the reversal of the orders issued by Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 147 Presiding Judge Ronald Moreno on Nov. 28, 2012, January 21, 2013, April 4, 2013 and June 7, 2013.

The RTC in its Nov. 28, 2012 ruling denied R-II Builders and HCPHI’s motion to dismiss the complaint filed by HGC against them seeking to declare as null and void the conveyance of 285 million common shares of Harbour Centre Port Terminal Inc. (HCPTI) in its name.

On Jan. 21, 2013 the trial court denied RBI’s motion for reconsideration on the Nov. 28 ruling.

When the Quezon City RTC dismissed the complaint filed by R-II, the firm elevated the case to the CA, which granted the pleading of Romero’s firm for mediation.

Another CA division earlier resolved the two other related cases involving R-II Builders and Harbour Centre, as well as the HGC.

News reports said that one of the cases was a trial court’s order that turned over to HGC more than 285 million common shares of HCPTI and the appointment of a receiver. The second case involved the writ of preliminary attachment against the Romero camp, in connection with HGC’s P280-million claim that he and his firms allegedly failed to remit.

Apart from his legal battle with government, the elder Romero is also fighting his son Mikee in court.

In March 2, 2011, under two separate deeds of assignment, Reghis, through his companies R-II Holdings, Inc. and R-II Builders, Inc., have divested itself from Harbour Center Port Terminal Inc. (HCPTI)

Records show that 403,799 shares and 285,459 shares, respectively, or a total of 689.2 million shares were conveyed in favor of Harbour Holdings owned by son Mikee, making the latter the majority owner of HCPTI.

The shareholdings divested by the elder Romero represented a total of 68.11% of the total issued and outstanding capital stock of HCPTI.

Inspite of the assignment of shares for which the elder Romero was paid in full, Reghis still claims that he is the majority owner of HCPTI.

On Dec. 19, 2014, the Pasig Regional Trial Court issued a permanent restraining order against  against Romero and his R-II Builders Inc. and R-II Holdings Inc. directing them to stop “disrupting and interfering with the peaceful management, control, operations, and possession of the Harbour Centre Terminal Facility.”

The decision stemmed from the complaint filed in November by One Source Port Support Services Inc., a company contracted by Harbour Centre to render port ancillary services and management since January 2007.

Under the court directive, Romero and his men “cannot represent themselves as owners of HCPTI, nor collect, receive, and disburse any and all funds on behalf of the company.”

The order also prohibits Romero “from entering the terminal facility with the consent of its legitimate owner or commit any acts prejudicial to the peaceful possession, management, control, operation, and interest of the company’s legitimate operator.”

The court, in its decision, said Romero and his companies illegally seized management and operations of Harbour Centre by harassing and evicting its legitimate owners, Harbour Centre Port Holdings, to which Romero sold his majority shares at HCPTI.

The court also warned Reghis and his cohorts against representing themselves as owners of the port; collecting, receiving, disbursing any and all funds on behalf of HCPTI and/or One Source Port Support Services, Inc.; entering the 10 hectare Terminal Facility without the express consent and approval of One Source, its agents, representatives and employees; and such other acts prejudicial to the peaceful possession, management, control, operations and interest of One Source in the 10 hectare Terminal Facility.

For comments, opinions, and suggestions, email at maryannreyesphilstar@gmail.com


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