• Sandigan orders return of UCPB shares to govt

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    The Sandiganbayan 2nd Division has ordered issuance of a writ of execution implementing decisions by the Supreme Court (SC), which declared that United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) shares of stock transferred to Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr. as well as those of his alleged dummies belong to the state.

    In a 17-page resolution, the Sandiganbayan granted a motion for execution filed by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) as it affirmed that that the turnover of the UCPB shares is now in order after the SC’s ruling attained finality.

    “Accordingly, let a writ of execution [be issued]implementing the Supreme Court decisions in G.R. Nos. 177857-58 and 178193 and G.R. No. 180705,” it said.

    “The PCA [Philippine Coconut Authority] and defendant Cojuangco Jr. are hereby ordered to surrender to the court the necessary documents to effect the transfer of the subject shares of stock in favor of plaintiff Republic of the Philippines. The UCPB is directed to cancel the subject shares of stock and to issue the equivalent number of shares in the name of the Republic of the Philippines,” according to the Sandiganbayan.

    The PCGG filed an amended complaint before the anti-graft court against Cojuangco and several others in 1995, which covered the allegedly anomalous purchase and use of the UCPB shares. It was docketed as Civil Case No. 0033-A.

    “It is settled that once a decision becomes final and executory, vested rights are acquired by the winning party. As such, the winning party can have the said decision executed as a matter of right, and the issuance of a writ of execution becomes a ministerial duty of the court,” prosecutors said in their motion.

    Cojuangco was charged before the anti-graft court for allegedly manipulating, beginning in 1975, the Philippine Coconut Authority’s (PCA) purchase of 72.2 percent of the outstanding capital stock of the First United Bank (FUB), which later became UCPB.

    It was alleged that the stocks were bought using Coconut Consumers Stabilization Fund (CCSF) initially in the amount of P85.77 million.

    In 2012, the SC denied separate appeals, including one by Cojuangco, on a partial summary judgment issued by the Sandiganbayan.

    On Cojuangco’s appeal, the High Tribunal affirmed with modification the anti-graft court’s partial summary judgment. It held that the transfer made by the PCA of 14,400 shares of stock of FUB from the “option shares” and the additional FUB shares subscribed and paid by PCA is “unconstitutional, hence null and void.”

    “The above-mentioned shares of stock of the FUB/UCPB transferred to defendant Cojuangco are hereby declared conclusively owned by the Republic of the Philippines to be used only for the benefit of all coconut farmers and for the development of the coconut industry, and ordered reconveyed to the government,” it said.

    The SC affirmed the Sandiganbayan’s partial summary judgment that the UCPB shares of stock of Cojuangco’s alleged dummies that formed part of the 72.2 percent shares of FUB paid for by the PCA and later charged to the coconut levy funds “belong to the plaintiff Republic of the Philippines as their true and beneficial owner.”

    Cojuangco appealed the SC’s ruling but the latter denied it with finality in 2013. The Ssate received an entry of judgment on December 18, 2013.

    In their motion for execution, the prosecution asked the Sandiganbayan “that a writ of execution be issued implementing the Supreme Court’s Decision in G.R. Nos. 177857-58 and 178193, and G.R. No. 180705.”

    It also asked that “the UCPB Corporate Secretary be directed to cancel the subject shares of stock; issue an equivalent number of shares of stock in the name of the Republic of the Philippines; and to deliver the same to the PCGG.”

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