Camp John Hay exec posts bail in P1.15B estafa case
MANILA, Philippines–Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevCo) chair Robert Sobrepeña posted bail after a Pasay judge issued a warrant for his arrest in connection with the P1.15-billion estafa case filed against him by the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA).
On Monday morning, Sobrepeña personally appeared at the Pasay Regional Trial Court Branch 119 to post bail of P40,000.
“With the posting of bail, the warrant of arrest is lifted,” CJHDevCo spokesman and lawyer Manuel Ubarra Jr. told the Inquirer in a phone interview.
It was reported over the weekend that Judge Pedro de Leon Gutierrez had ordered Sobrepeña’s arrest after the Department of Justice indicted him on June 10 for his failure to pay the BCDA for the rental of 247 hectares within the John Hay Special Economic Zone (JHSEZ).
The BCDA earlier accused Sobrepeña of making fraudulent financial declarations to evade full payment of rental fees from 1998 to 2000.
Under a 1996 lease agreement, CJHDevCo was supposed to pay an annual rent of P425 million to the BCDA or five percent of the gross revenues for the first five years of the lease. For the years 1998, 1999 and 2000, BCDA was supposed to receive a total of over P1 billion in rental fees.
However, BCDA president and chief executive officer Arnel Casanova had earlier noted that the firm officials’ “representations on their finances were fraudulent and misleading.”
“The real issue here is CJHDevco’s nonpayment of lease rentals to government while declaring dividends, extending cash advances and assignment of shares amounting to P1.274 billion to its stockholders in 1998 to 2000,” Casanova said.
In a statement on Monday, Sobrepeña denied the allegations against him, and said the case was filed “purely for harassment.”
Ubarra noted that the P1.15 billion being claimed by the BCDA in its estafa complaint was one of the issues already submitted for resolution in an ongoing arbitration case.
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