SC asked to revisit 3rd Division ruling on case involving UCPB
The chair of a manufacturing industry federation and a crusader against illicit trade and smuggling asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to investigate a supposed irregularity committed by one of its divisions over a case involving a bank.
In a five-page letter addressed to Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin and all justices, Federation of Philippines Industries chair Jesus Arranza urged the high court to look into whether a decision rendered by its five-member Third Division was done in violation of the Constitution and its own internal rules.
Records showed that the justices of the Third Division at that time were Bersamin; Benjamin Alfredo Caguioa; Alexander Gesmundo; Noel Tijam, who has retired; and Samuel Martires, who is now the Ombudsman.
It was Bersamin, then the acting division chair, who wrote the decision dated Aug. 16, 2017.
Arranza said that in the decision, the Third Division reversed a favorable decision in favor of United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) that was rendered earlier by the Court of Appeals.
Arranza is stockholder of UCPB and, until last year, was member of its board of directors.
He said he was “anxious and worried” because initially the case was dismissed by the Supreme Court.
He also told the high tribunal that UCPB, which is now owned by the government, “stands to lose at least P1 billion if the decision dated Aug. 16, 2017, is not reconsidered.”
Arranza said there are pending motions to refer or elevate the case to the Supreme Court en banc but he was wondering why these remained pending for more than a year now.
Arranza said that while the government was now the majority owner of shares of stock of UCPB, the Supreme Court had also directed that the same be used for the benefit of coconut farmers and the development of the coconut industry.
“Whatever action the Supreme Court will take in this case will impact on the coconut farmers and the coconut industry, in particular, and the government, in general,” Arranza added.
The case involved the mortgage of Revere Realty and Development Corp. owned by businessman Jose Go to UCPB of properties in Lucena City belonging to a couple, Felix and Carmen Chuan, with whom he had a joint venture that fizzled out.
The Third Division reversed the Court of Appeals’ March 2014 ruling that affirmed the UCPB mortgage.
In 1997, Go and the Chuas had entered into a joint venture to develop the 44-hectare property in Ilayang Dupay, Lucena City, into a subdivision but it did not push through.
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