SBMA ‘neutral stand’ belied in ‘deceitful’ condotel take-over

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    SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) insisted it took a “neutral stand” in the Ocean Condotel dispute here, notwithstanding the use of 60 armed SBMA security in its Holy Wednesday night takeover of the property.

    This, even as the lawyer of the Freeport Elite Resort, Inc. (FERI) which owned the condotel affirmed the filing of a “Forcible Entry” case against the state-run firm and its allegedly favored Korean locator.

    Atty. Wilfrido C. Mangiliman said the SBMA officials led by its administrator and chairman Roberto V. Garcia illegally installed the group of Kang Il Chan at the Ocean Condotel under cover of darkness just before midnight on Holy Wednesday without a lawful court order.

    As an offshoot, Mangiliman filed Civil Case No. 7643 for “Forcible Entry and Damages with Prayer for Preliminary Injunction” on April 20.

    It can be recalled that on April 1, some 50 fully armed SBMA law enforcers and 10 security guards led by SBMA lawyers Randy B. Escolangco, Von F. Rodriguez and Ruel John Kabigting and Law Enforcement Department chief Orlando M. Maddela “by means of force, intimidation, threat, strategy and stealth entered, possessed and occupied Ocean Condotel” owned by FERI.

    But in a letter sent to President Aquino thru Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa on April 27, the SBMA said: “As a matter of policy, the SBMA takes a neutral stance with respect to intra-corporate disputes…”

    It added that “the SBMA does not participate, unless necessary, and only to keep the peace and order, enforcement of laws, rules and regulations” in intra- corporate disputes.

    However, Mangiliman pointed out that if not for the “illegal intervention” of SBMA officials, the “forcible entry and take-over “of Ocean Condotel would not have happened.

    He said several attempts have been made by Kang’s group to take-over the condotel from March 18 to 20 and March 30 to 31 but were prevented by another FERI lawyer, Atty. Roseller Logronio, who was at the condotel premises and insisted on the necessity of a writ of execution and the presence of a court sheriff.

    But shortly after noon on April 1, a Holy Wednesday, Logronio left the condotel for the Lenten break to join his family in Pampanga. Later that night, just before midnight, the condotel was forcibly taken over by the SBMA and installed Kang’s group.

    In the letter to President Aquino, the SBMA noted that “decisions and orders on intra-corporate disputes are immediately executory regardless of appeal.”

    But the FERI lawyers disputed the SBMA and said a lawful court order should be the basis of any intra-corporate dispute.

    Mangiliman said the SBMA order on April 1 and implemented surreptitiously just before midnight on the same night “smacks of deceit and treachery and should not be condoned.”

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