Criminal raps approved vs port terminal officer
THE ACTING Quezon City prosecutor has approved the filing of criminal charges against the corporate secretary of the Harbour Centre Port Terminal Inc. (HCPTI), the company that operates the 10-hectare Manila Harbour Centre whose ownership is being disputed by the rival camps of businessman Reghis Romero II and his son Michael.
In a seven-page resolution dated Nov. 9 and released last week, acting Quezon City Prosecutor Ferdinand Fernandez found probable cause to file five counts of falsification of public documents and perjury against Jerome Canlas, who submitted papers wherein he claimed that he was the corporate secretary of HCPTI.
The complaint against Canlas was filed by two corporate officers of HCPTI. Canlas previously filed four separate complaints for qualified theft against the two officers and the younger Romero regarding the issuance of allegedly falsified corporate checks worth P9 million in 2007.
Canlas claimed that he was the HCPTI corporate secretary and that the firm had authorized him to initiate the cases. He submitted as proof a secretary’s certificate which stated that the HCPTI board of directors held a special meeting during which the board granted him the authority to represent the company and file the theft complaint.
In his decision, Fernandez said there was “sufficient evidence to conclude” that the crimes of falsification of public document and perjury had been committed by Canlas. Fernandez ruled that Canlas “made untruthful statements in narration of facts in the complaint-affidavits, secretary’s certificate, and general information sheet of HCPTI [which are the] subject of the consolidated complaints.”
The prosecutor cited the general information sheet filed by Canlas in which he did not include Harbour Centre Port Holdings Inc. (HCPHI) on the list of stockholders despite that fact that he included the said company in the sheets he filed for 2011, 2012 and 2013.
HCPHI, controlled by the younger Romero, claimed to have obtained majority control in HCPTI in 2011 through divestments made by his father. Last year, however, the elder Romero’s two companies, R-II Builders Inc. and R-II Holdings Inc., allegedly seized control of HCPTI.
The company general information sheet later issued by Canlas, an appointee of the elder Romero’s camp, listed R-II Buildings and R-II Holdings, as HCPTI stockholders.
The prosecutor noted that HCPHI remained a stockholder of HCPTI since it had not transferred its shares to R-II Builders and R-II Holdings. Canlas’ own evidence, the stock and transfer book, shows that HCPHI is a stockholder of HCPTI, while R-II Builders and R-II Holdings are not.
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