SBMA execs: We acted ‘prudently’ on Korean traders’ feud
MABALACAT CITY—Officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) said they “acted prudently” and “tread carefully and within the bounds of pertinent law” when they helped another Korean investor take over the 80-room Ocean Condotel in Subic Bay Freeport in Zambales on April 1.
On April 16, Jo Kwang-rae, representing directors of Freeport Elite Resort Inc. (Feri), sued SBMA Chair and Administrator Roberto Garcia and four other SBMA officials for grave misconduct and grave abuse of authority at the Office of the Ombudsman, alleging that they used force and intimidation in helping Kang Il-chan take over the hotel.
Jo said the takeover of the hotel was illegal because it was done in the absence of a court sheriff and without a court-issued writ of execution.
But in a position paper sent to the Inquirer, SBMA said it participated in the takeover of Ocean Condotel to keep the peace, enforce laws and regulations, and implement a judicial order.
“The SBMA acted prudently… if SBMA did not take such action, violence, disruption of business operations, and displacement of innocent workers would have in all probability arisen,” it said.
Other respondents in the case are Randy Escolango, SBMA deputy administrator for legal affairs; Von Rodriguez, SBMA legal department manager; Ruel John Kabigting of SBMA regulatory monitoring unit; and Orlando Maddela Jr., chief of SBMA law enforcement department.
Before the April 1 takeover, it said Kang’s group had asked the SBMA several times to enforce the March 16 decision of the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court, which showed Kang as the majority shareholder of Feri. The court also ordered the annulment and deduction of a significant portion of former Feri president and director Cho Han-choon’s shares of stock in the corporation.
SBMA said it initially declined to participate in the dispute, with its policy of taking a neutral stance on intracorporate disputes.
But after reviewing the court decision, Escolango and Rodriguez “took the initiative to further participate in the matter to avoid exposure to liability,” SBMA said. Jun Malig, Inquirer Central Luzon
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.