Court: Batangas resort held by Kokoy belongs to government
After years of dispute between the government and a member of the Romualdez-Marcos clan, the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division has ruled that a beach resort in Mabini, Batangas, belonged to the government.
The property was previously held by former Ambassador Benjamin “Kokoy” Romualdez, a brother of former first lady Imelda Marcos. It is listed as owned by Philippine Journalists Inc. (PJI) and was among the properties seized from Romualdez as ill-gotten wealth, although it was sold in 1991 to private citizen Ramon Quisumbing.
In a 49-page resolution written by Associate Justice Rafael Lagos and concurred in by Associate Justices Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega and Maryann Corpus-Mañalac, the antigraft court ruled that while the government was the rightful owner of the land, Quisumbing was “a builder in good faith” as he did not know that the property he had bought and improved on was involved in a legal battle.
Quisumbing paid P700,000 for the 7,087-square-meter property, which at that time did not have road access or electricity and water supply.
Thus, the court said, Quisumbing was entitled to the amount of P40 million, representing the current market value of all improvements he had made on the resort, such as installation of water and power supply, and construction of roads and other infrastructure including a restaurant and a seawall. —PATRICIA DENISE M. CHIU
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