THE parent company of Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc. (TRLEI), operator of Okada Manila, lauded the Supreme Court for its swift action on its urgent plea to direct the group of Japanese gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada to refrain from exercising management and board functions and surrender the physical possession of the resort and casino hotel in Parañaque City.
In a resolution dated June 13, the court ordered Okada to reply and comment to the Extremely Urgent Manifestation with Motion for Clarification Ad Cautelam submitted by TRLEI on June 9.
"We laud the honorable Supreme Court for treating this matter urgently and acting swiftly on the motion filed. The violent and forceful takeover of Okada Manila as well as the election of an illegally constituted board to manage it is a perversion of the High Court's order and has only brought confusion and uncertainty to the future of Okada Manila, an over US$3 billion investment in the Philippines," TRLEI legal counsel Estrella Elamparo said in a statement sent to The Manila Times on Wednesday.
The group of Okada was given five days to respond to the Supreme Court resolution.
Okada, Filipino businessman Antonio "Tonyboy" Cojuangco, Dindo Espeleta, and their legal counsel Herrera Teehankee and Cabrera Law Office took control of the resort last May 31 with the help of around 50 security guards and law enforcement officers. The group was armed with the status quo ante order (SQAO) issued by the Supreme Court which directed Okada's "immediate reinstatement as shareholder, director, chairman and CEO" of TRLEI. Okada was removed from TRLEI in 2017 due to allegations of financial mismanagement.
TRAL, however, argued that the SQAO neither authorized nor empowered Okada to install a new board of directors or officers. This formed the basis of TRLEI's motion for clarification.
Elamparo revealed that the group of Okada allegedly authorized billions of pesos in payment to Transasia Construction Development Corp. (TCDC) to purportedly settle its payables.
However, based on company records, it is TCDC, a company reportedly led by Espeleta, that owes TRLEI around P9 billion in overpayments, contra charges, and financial losses. Elamparo said TRLEI issued a final demand for payment to TCDC last January 24.
"We received further information that the Kazuo Okada-backed board filed a resolution to pay the Espeleta-led TCDC the amount of P2 billion for expenses. This is beyond absurd given the fact that TCDC actually owes TRLEI P9 billion. Before the violent takeover, TRLEI was actually preparing to file an arbitration case against TCDC for its outstanding obligations to TRLEI," Elamparo said.