The Supreme Court (SC) has engraved its final ruling on the controversial 24-percent block of sequestered shares in San Miguel Corp. (SMC) that was acquired during the martial-law years using coconut levy funds.
It did so by issuing an entry of judgment on the case that is final and unappealable already.
“[L]et entry of judgment of the court’s September 4, 2012 resolution [be]immediately issued,” an SC resolution read.
The entry of judgment will finally release the coconut levy funds to coconut farmers.
In a unanimous ruling, the High Court granted the government’s plea for an entry of judgment on its September 4, 2012 resolution, which affirmed the earlier ruling dated January 24, 2012 that awarded the shares to the government.
Five justices inhibited, namely Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Francis Jardeleza.
Three justices were on leave, namely Associate Justices Arturo Brion, Lucas Bersamin and Jose Perez.
The Philippine Coconut Producers Federation Inc. (Cocofed) in September 2012 suffered a setback after the SC affirmed with finality its previous decision holding that 27 percent of the total capital stock of SMC acquired using coconut levy funds and registered in the name of the Coconut Industry Investment Fund (CIIF) are owned by the government.
Voting unanimously, the high tribunal held that the “CIIF block” of SMC shares should be used exclusively for the benefit of coconut farmers and the development of the local coconut industry.
For their failure to raise new arguments, the court junked a motion for reconsideration of petitioners Cocofed, Manuel V. del Rosario and Domingo P. Espin, who had asked the tribunal to reverse its January 24, 2012 ruling.
The petitioners also include Salvador P. Ballares, Joselito A. Moraleda, Paz M. Yason, Vicente Cadiz, Cesaria de Luna Titular and Raymundo C. de Villa.
The SC on January 24, 2012 upheld a Sandiganbayan decision ordering the reconveyance to the government of the CIIF block of SMC shares in the aggregate amount of P1.656 billion totaling 33,133,266 shares as of 1983.
It said the CIIF block of shares is government fund.