The STI group on Sunday blamed the Benitez group for the bankruptcy of the Philippine Women’s University (PWU), saying the family that put up the school mishandled funds.
Monico Jacob, president of STI Holdings Inc., newly elected president and chief executive officer of PWU, said the Benitez Group mishandled university funds, leaving them unable to pay bank loans that STI later settled.
Jacob added that the Benitezes also mishandled the P250 million they received from Jardine Land Inc. and Northpine One Residences Inc. for the “commercialization” of the property occupied by the Jose Abad Santos Memorial School (JASMS) in Quezon City.
The PWU property was foreclosed by Banco De Oro when the Benitez family failed to pay its loans.
In November 2011, the family’s debt was shouldered by STI through a debt-to-equity conversion to save PWU from foreclosure.
“Up until last week when we cited them in default, it was the Benitez Group that called all the shots in PWU. We were a minority and only decided to accept their prepared resignations as provided in our agreements when it became clear we would not be paid,” Jacob said.
He added that the Benitez Group refused to settle the accumulated P923 million debt of PWU and its sister company, Unlad Resources Development Corp., to STI.
The original deal was a debt-to-equity conversion where STI will be compensated with PWU stocks.
“They got P250 million for JASMS and did not deliver. They got more than P400 million from STI and now want out of the agreement without paying. The students pay and do not get the campus and education they paid for,” Jacob said in a statement.
The Benitez Group had denied resigning from the PWU board and claimed that STI was in charge of JASMS’ commercialization plans.
In September, STI said it has signed an agreement with Ayala Land Inc. and its unit Amaia Land Corp. to develop the 2.2-hectare JASMS property. Under the agreement, STI will redevelop JASMS while the Ayala group will take care of the residential and commercial buildings to rise in the area. Construction was set to start in March 2015.
STI took control of PWU, cornering eight out of 10 seats in the university’s board of directors, and 11 of the 15 so-called members, who are actual owners if PWU had not been a non-stock corporation.
At present, STI’s school portfolio includes campuses in Cubao (Quezon City), Caloocan City (Metro Manila), Calamba City (Laguna), Batangas, Lucena City (Quezon), Ortigas-Cainta (Metro Manila) , West Negros University (Negros Occidental) and Makati Medical Center College (Metro Manila).