QUITE a number of stories have already been written about the P200,000-betrayal by a business partner of Alvin Patrimonio, one of the more popular players of Purefoods TJ Hotdogs, a member team of the Philippine Basketball Association Inc. Due Diligencer, however, is retelling the story for what should be THE lesson of the year among friends, associates and business allies.
The case, Alvin Patrimonio vs Napoleon Gutierez and Octavio Marasigan 3rd could go down in history as one’s fight for justice no matter how much it would cost him. Perseverance should pay off in the end.
Patrimonio has often scored for his team, but in the court of law, he missed the major score he had wanted and sought for years. Then came the Supreme Court with a ruling in his favor.
Despite his loss at the lower courts, Patrimonio kept his faith in the judicial system. He persevered even if the amount involved was only P200,000. He said he wanted to prove that he had nothing to do with a personal deal his business partner had entered into with a fellow player of Purefoods.
Readers may decide themselves if it is pride or the money that pushed Patrimonio in his battle. To this writer Alvin has been right in waging a legal battle to the end until he finally obtained justice.
Yes, this piece is about his battle outside the basketball court. Ironically, the war did not pit Patrimonio against either Robert Jaworski or any other PBA player but against his former public relations agent and business partner.
Today’s senior citizens would still remember Patrimonio. But does anyone among them know what Slam Dunk Corp. was all about?
Slam Dunk was a business venture between Alvin and his public relations agent with the former providing the money. Due Diligencer won’t know if the company still exists.
How did Patrimonio lose his fight in the lower courts over a P200,000 check that he had not issued?
In the words of the Supreme Court that finally ruled in his favour, “ . . . the tribunals below arrived at two conflicting factual findings, albeit with the same conclusion . . .” That conclusion that went against Patrimonio, according to the High Tribunal, was “the dismissal of the complaint for the nullity of the loan” that one of PBA’s best players had filed against his former business partner and Marasigan.
What was the loan all about? To summarize: Alvin issued blank checks to Gutierrez with clear instructions that he use each of them for the business. However, contrary to this condition, Gutierrez borrowed P200,000 from Alvin’s fellow team player named Octavio Marasigan 3rd, who also went by his nickname Bong.
When the check bounced, Marasigan went after Alvin, who, naturally, refused to honor the check. Why should he pay for the bounced check? In the first place, Gutierrez borrowed P200,000 using the check issued by Alvin as collateral to assure Marasigan of collecting the loan plus five percent interest per month.
What for was the P200,000 that Gutierrez borrowed from Marasigan? According to the SC, “in the middle of 1993, without the petitioner’s knowledge, Gutierrez went to Marasigan to secure a loan in the amount of P200,000 on the excuse that he needed the money for the construction of his house.”
“In addition to the payment of the principal,” the High Court said, “Gutierrez assured Marasigan that he would be paid an interest of 5 percent a month from March to May 1994.”
Somewhere in the decision written by Justice Arturo Brion and issued on June 4, 2014 were the testimonies of Patrimonio that he had not authorized anyone “including Nap Gutierrez to issue check for P200,000” without his consent.
In ruling for Patrimonio, the High Court “annulled and set aside” the decision issued on September 24, 2008 against him by the Court of Appeals and, at the same time, charged the “costs against the respondents,” meaning Gutierrez and Marasigan.
What if Alvin easily gave up?
Well, in the first place, why should he tolerate Gutierrez, who, as his business partner, has “slam dunked” the trust and confidence he—Alvin—had bestowed on him as PR agent and business partner. Too bad for Gutierrez. He missed the ring and had to pay dearly for his betrayal of Patrimonio’s trust.