BHI downplays libel complaint vs chairman

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BOULEVARD Holdings Inc. (BHI) has downplayed the libel complaint filed against its chairman Jose Marcel Panlilio, saying that the company was merely exhausting all the remedies available to it so as to protect its ownership of its property on Boracay Island.

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In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), BHI said that the charge of libel against its chairman and the administrative complaint filed against its lawyers were “baseless and unfounded” and will be sufficiently addressed before the appropriate fora.

BHI controls Friday’s Holdings Inc. (FHI) which operates the Friday’s resort in Boracay, while Yap-Sumndad claims that she owns within the said tourist establishment a 1,447-square-meter parcel of land.

The company further said that it only published the real state of facts about FHI’s absolute ownership of the property in question.

“[Our ownership claim] was based on the incontrovertible and conclusive Deed of Absolute Sale of that property on March 3, 2014 in Friday’s favor pursuant to the July 22, 2009 court-approved Compromise Agreement signed by Mila Yap, and the concomitant BIR-validated tax declaration in the name of Friday’s covering the property,” BHI said.
“Indeed, Mila Yap no longer owns the property,” the company said.

Last Friday, Mila Yap-Sumndad, the person who claimed to be the rightful owner of the beachfront property where FHI’s Friday’s resort is erected, filed a libel complaint against Panlilio, allegedly for a series of media reports that maligned her reputation.

Yap-Sumndad said that Panlilio was motivated by malice and ill will in questioning her planned, court-sanctioned public auction of her beachfront lot to settle her debt to Lonavia Property, which in turn was claimed by Panlilio to be owned by Amable Aguiluz.
Amable Aguiluz is the country’s special envoy to the Gulf Cooperation Council.

“Whenever BHI submits their report to PSE, it makes it appear that I am a criminal trying to steal property when it is actually the other way around,” Yap-Sumndad said.

Specifically, Yap-Sumndad said that Panlilio issued “malicious charges and accusations” against her person to the media.

In her complaint-affidavit filed before the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in Kalibo, Aklan, she said that she is one of the daughters and one of the successors-in-interest of the late Benjamin and Pilar Yap, the original owners of the 2,564-square-meter of parcel of land inside the resort who forged a 25-year lease agreement with FHI in 1989.

Of the said property, about 60 percent or 1,447 square meters was acquired by Yap-Sumndad after her parents died, while the remainder went to her siblings.

“Yap-Sumndad repossessed her property when the 25-year lease agreement [between her ancestors and BHI]expired in February 2014, but a year later, the BHI/FHI group forcibly took over this lot with the aid of a local court sheriff and over a hundred persons, including cops belonging to the Philippine National Police and Boracay Tourist Assistance Center,” the complaint-affidavit stated.

Panlilio allegedly attacked Yap-Sumndad in media reports that came out last month after BHI/FHI learned that sheriff Ruben Blanco Jr. of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 95 had issued a Notice of Levy on two properties owned by Yap-Sumndad, including her Friday’s Resort lot, for a public auction that presiding Judge Edgar Belosillo originally set last March 7.

“In these [news]articles, no doubt the respondent [Panlilio] maliciously and publicly imputes against Mila Yap-Sumndad to have entered into a transaction involving a property which she does not own and to somebody she never contracted with,” the complaint-affidavit read.

“These felonious acts via the media violated Articles 353 and 355 of the Revised Penal Code, which criminalize the public and malicious imputation of a crime, vice or defect, whether real or imaginary, for the purpose of dishonoring or discrediting any person,” the complaint-affidavit further stated.

Sale proceeds from the intended auction are meant to settle Yap-Sumndad’s P74-million debt to Lonavia Properties Inc., a Quezon City-based real estate company.

However, FHI was able to file a third-party claim in time which suspended the auction in Quezon City, after convincing the court that FHI was the rightful owner of the property that the sheriff levied on the basis of Tax Declaration No. 3676 under Yap-Sumndad’s name that was actually registered at the Provincial Assessor’s Office in Kalibo, Aklan.

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