THE Court of Appeals (CA) has allowed the camp of businessman and incoming partylist Rep. Michael Romero to resume the operation of Harbour Centre Terminal which was the subject of contention between Michael and his father, Reghis Romero 2nd.
In a 22-page decision, the CA’s Special 15th Divison affirmed the writ of preliminary injunction issued by Judge Rolando Mislang of the Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 167 on December 18, 2014 indefinitely barring the elder Romero from nullifying One Source’s contracts and taking control of the port operations.
The appellate court held that One Source Port Services, Inc. is the rightful operator of Harbour Centre by virtue of a valid and legal Port Ancillary Services Contract and Port Services Management Contract it signed with Harbour Center Port Terminal Inc. (HCPTI) on January 22, 2007 and June 5, 2014, respectively.
The contracts give One Source, the manpower service provider of HCPTI, the right to operate the facility.
The decision was penned by Associate Justice Leoncia Real-Dimagiba.
Dimagiba’s decision was concurred in by Justices Rosemari Carandang, Japar Dimaampao, and Mario Lopez.
“We scrutinized the RTC Pasig’s December 18 order and find the same to be in order. The public respondent, finding One Source has a clear right over the management and operations of the terminal facility by virtue of the two notarized contracts, ordered Reghis Romero II, R-II Builders and R-II Holdings, their representatives, agents and employees to cease and desist from further disrupting and interfering the One Source’s management, control, operations and possession of the ten-hectare terminal facility,” the CA explained.
The court said that the elder Romero’s rescission of the contract was illegal.
“Verily, in the absence of any court’s declaration of rescission and/or nullity of said public documents – Port Ancillary Service Contract and Port Services Management Contract, both contracts are enforceable as a matter of law between One Source and HCPTI,” the CA said.
It added that the power to rescind an obligation must be invoked judicially and cannot be done solely on a party’s own judgment that the other had violated its provisions.
“This is so because rescission of reciprocal contract will not be permitted for a slight or casual breach, but only for such substantial and fundamental violations as would defeat the very object of the parties in making the agreement,” the CA pointed out.
The appellate court pointed out that the elder Romero has no authority to unilaterally rescind the contract because he appointed his son as president and chief executive officer of HCPTI in 2004 and it was Michael who tapped the services of One Source.
“Thus as president and chief executive officer of HCPTI, he is responsible for its management and daily operations. Undeniably, he has the power and authority to enter into contracts, particularly the Port Ancillary Service Contract and Port Services Management Contract, which give One Source the authority to manage and operate the entire terminal facilty,” the CA stressed.
The appellate court agreed with the Pasig RTC that the eviction of One Source would cause grave and irreparable damage to the latter.
“Considering that many people will be affected with the eviction of One Source from the HCPTI facility, we are of the opinion that One Source will suffer great damage than the petitioners as its employees will be displaced, and the company’s goodwill and business reputation built through the years will be adversely affected,” it said.