Romero vs Romero: Son wins Manila court case vs pa
MANILA, Philippines–A Manila court has ruled that businessman Michael Romero and his group—not the faction headed by his father Reghis II—owned Harbour Centre Port Terminal, Inc. (HCPTI), the company that operates the 10-hectare Manila Harbor Center.
In a decision dated May 6 and provided by the younger Romero’s lawyer Ray Jean Tamayo, Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 25 Judge Silvino Pampilo gave credence to the notarized deeds of assignments submitted by Michael’s faction to show that they were the majority shareholders of HCPTI.
However, Pampilo’s ruling contradicted the one rendered by Quezon City Judge Bernelito Fernandez last May 5 in which he ordered Michael’s group to stop using the deeds to claim ownership of HCPTI.
Pampilo, in his ruling, said the deeds carried “evidentiary weight” and were presumed to be regular since these were duly notarized. He also said the elder Romero’s faction did not bother to refute the validity of the deeds which remained effective until nullified.
The court, therefore, acknowledged that 68.11 percent of HCPTI shares were owned by Harbour Centre Port Holdings Inc. represented by Michael, through the two March 2, 2011, notarized deeds of assignment that were allegedly executed in its favor by R-II Builders Inc. and R-II Holdings Inc., which are controlled by Reghis’ group.
The judge added that Michael’s faction also submitted documents that constituted “compelling evidence before the eyes of the court” that they were the current officers of HCPTI. These included certifications by the corporate secretary, tax payment receipts, and the general information sheet submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The Manila court’s ruling stemmed from a replevin suit filed last March by the group of the elder Romero, through assistant manager Alethea Arellano, to recover about 15 motor vehicles issued to Michael and nine other respondents identified with his group when they were still employed with the HCPTI.
Pampilo ruled that since Arellano did not have the authority to represent HCPTI, the case should be dismissed due to lack of jurisdiction and should not be considered filed.
He rejected the claim of Reghis’ faction that the writ of preliminary injunction issued by the Court of Appeals last March 19 prohibited Michael’s group from taking over HCPTI. The judge said the appeals court order pertained to Michael’s acts as agent or representative of One Source Port Support Services Group, which Reghis’ faction evicted from the Manila Harbor Center.
“Simply put, Michael Romero is enjoined only if he acts as an agent and/or representative of the private respondent in the Court of Appeals case which is One Source Port Services Inc. but not when he acts as a director or officer of HCPTI, as a stockholder thereof, or in behalf of the company per se because this was not covered by the writ,” the judge explained.
One source earlier filed a separate suit in the Pasig City Regional Trial Court which ordered Reghis’ faction ousted from the Manila Harbor Center. The elder Romero, however, elevated the case in the Court of Appeals which issued a writ of preliminary injunction in his favor.
The elder Romero has been insisting that his two companies–R-II Builders Inc. and R-II Holdings Inc.–remained the majority stockholders of HCPTI, contrary to his son’s claim.
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