Port row: Son scores win in QC court
THE QUEZON City Regional Trial Court (RTC) has denied the plea of businessman Reghis Romero II to prevent his estranged son, Michael Romero, and his holding firm from asserting control over Harbour Centre Port Terminal Inc. (HCPTI), the operator of a port in Manila.
In a two-page decision issued last Dec. 22, Judge Reynaldo Daway of the Quezon City RTC Branch 90 denied Reghis Romero’s petition for a writ of preliminary injunction against his son’s use of two deeds of assignment that were executed in 2011, which, according to Michael Romero, proves his ownership right over HCPTI.
The documents purportedly show Reghis Romero ceded control of HCPTI as early as March 2, 2011, through two deeds of assignment transferring 689,258,653 shares to his son’s holding company.
“After carefully considering the submission or arguments of the parties in their respective pleadings filed in relation to the plaintiff’s application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction, this court is of the considered and humble view that the plaintiff had not been able to show his entitlement to the provisional relief of preliminary injunction,” Daway said in his decision that was released to the media by lawyers of the younger Romero.
The resolution, however, denied Michael Romero’s second motion to dismiss the civil suit filed by his father. This means the judge will proceed to hear the case to settle the ownership dispute.
Reghis Romero and his two companies that claim control over HCPTI—R-II Builders Inc. and R-II Holdings Inc.—have said the two deeds of assignment were fabricated. The elder Romero filed in April last year a civil case against his son to nullify the deeds.
The civil complaint was first handled by Judge Bernelito Fernandez of the Quezon City RTC Branch 97, who issued a 20-day temporary restraining order last May 5 stopping Michael Romero from exercising ownership over HCPTI.
Fernandez, however, inhibited himself from the case three weeks later following accusations of partiality in the proceedings. His action led to the postponement of hearings and the re-raffling of the case to Daway’s court.
According to Michael Romero’s camp, the Office of the Quezon City Prosecutor and the RTC have issued rulings recognizing his ownership of HCPTI.
But Reghis Romero said HCPTI’s 2014 general information sheet, stock and transfer book, and statement of management responsibility for the 2011 and 2012 statements that were submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission showed that his two companies remained listed as the majority holders of HCPTI.
There is no record of deeds of assignment or any transfer of shares of stock to HCPTI, according to Reghis Romero.
The ownership dispute has led to the filing of suits and countersuits by both camps in various courts in Quezon City, Manila and Pasig City as well as in the Court of Appeals.