CLARK FREEPORT, Philippines ? A brother of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Chair Margarita Juico is pursuing a P5-billion project to develop the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) here on the heels of a syndicated estafa case he filed against a cousin of President Aquino after their tie-up for the project had gone sour.
Ricardo Penson, president of Penson and Co. Inc., the firm that now leads the Fil-Korean consortium Philco Aero, said he brought the case in late 2010 to the Department of Justice after a court in Pasig City dismissed it.
Penson said he sued Maria Aurora ?Rissa? Oreta, Pampanga Rep. Carmelo Lazatin, former Nueva Ecija Rep. Renato Diaz, Rey Pineda, Department of Transportation and Communications director Inky Lucban and Anthony Rodriguez.
Oreta is president of the Pacific Avia Group Inc. (PAGI) that did not pass the second stage of the joint venture process for DMIA?s Terminal 2. She is a daughter of Antolin Oreta Jr. and former senator Tessie Oreta, a younger sister of President Aquino?s late father, former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr.
?After the acceptance [by the DMIA of the PAGI?s proposal], I was told I?m no longer a part of the group. They all worked together in not returning the P10 million I provided as equity, and paying me more than P9 million in supposed operations,? Penson said by telephone on Saturday.
One of the respondents, who did not want his name mentioned citing his right to privacy, said Penson?s allegations were ?untrue.?
Juico, meanwhile, said she had ?nothing to do with [Penson?s] business.?
The Philippine Daily Inquirer learned about the case after Penson issued a statement on Thursday, describing Romeo Dyoco, chairman of the joint venture selection committee (JVSC) of the state-owned Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC), as an appointee of Lazatin.
?Dyoco is an appointee of Lazatin who, with five other cohorts, [was] charged by our company for syndicated estafa now pending before the [Department of Justice],? Penson said in reaction to the JVSC?s Jan. 13 resolution recommending to end detailed negotiations with Philco Aero?s proposal to develop DMIA.
Dyoco said he was appointed by former President Macapagal-Arroyo and that as JVSC chair, he did his job in the best interest of CIAC.
?It was sad that the first attempt [by PAGI] was awarded but due to greed by government officials, [it] ended up in a pending legal matter indicated above,? Penson said.
?We try to champion the public-private partnership but the government has to be equally committed to exercise fair play,? he added.
Lazatin, 76, said he should not have been included in the case because he was merely exercising his oversight function over DMIA?s development.
Dyoco said he learned there was a problem among Penson, Lazatin, Pineda and Oreta but he could not confirm the conflict?s details.
PAGI was one of six firms that offered unsolicited proposals to develop the 2,500-hectare DMIA. Led by the French company Egis and with the Italian firm Selec and Australian firm Leighton as partners and contractors, it qualified for detailed evaluation and eligibility check, JVSC documents showed.
By then, the proposals of Philco Aero, R?II Holdings Inc., SNC? Lavalin International Inc., Eugenio Group and Al Mal of the Al Karafi Group were rejected.
PAGI did not make it to the next stage. After enhancing its eligibility by taking in Korean partners, Philco Aero?s proposal was accepted in May 2010.
But in a Jan. 13 resolution, the JVSC advised the CIAC board to end the detailed negotiations because of, among others, the removal of a $7.8-million offer to develop a 20-hectare commercial property and supposed inconsistencies in technical design.