Qualified theft case vs SMHC’s Indonesian partners can proceed – CA

Qualified theft case vs SMHC’s Indonesian partners can proceed – CA
The Court of Appeals says the Indonesian partners 'committed wrongful acts to the detriment of the corporation'

MANILA, Philippines – The trial for a qualified theft case filed by San Miguel Holdings Corporation (SMHC) against Indonesian businessman Shadik Wahono and his co-respondents can now proceed.

This is after the Court of Appeals (CA) junked their petition to reverse an earlier ruling dated July 11, 2018, that gave the green light to a Marikina City Regional Trial Court (RTC) to put them on trial.

The CA ruling, written by Associate Justice Sesinando Villon and dated January 7, 2019, said that Wahono, along with his co-respondents Nadiya Stamboel, Fema Christina Piramide Sayson, and Alvin Bugtas failed to present new arguments.

The 4 were accused of qualified theft by SMHC, San Miguel Corporation’s infrastructure arm, before a Marikina RTC, after Wahono disbursed without authorization P50 million in funds of Citra Metro Manila Tollways Corporation (CMMTC) to incorporate another company, Citra Central Expressway Corporation (CCEC).

Wahono is San Miguel Holdings’ partner for the Skyway Stage 3 project.

CMMTC was jointly owned by SMHC and Wahono. SMHC is also a stockholder of CMMTC.

‘Wrongful acts’

Wahono had argued that SMHC and CMMTC did not have the legal personality to file the case against him and his co-respondents, and that the case was moot after the court had addressed it in previous resolutions.

The CA said that the respondents, in their capacity as members of the CMMTC’s Board of Directors, “committed wrongful acts to the detriment of the corporation. Accordingly, SMHC has the right to institute a derivative suit on behalf of CMMTC.”

It also stuck to its earlier ruling that said Marikina RTC Branch 193 Presiding Judge Alice Gutierrez showed partiality when she dismissed the complaint against Wahono in 2018. This display of bias warranted her removal from the case.

Gutierrez had dismissed the complaint against Wahono and Stamboel, both still at-large, and acquitted Sayson and Bugtas. According to the CA, Gutierrez’s ruling neither eliminated their civil liability nor deprived the petitioners of their right to seek prosecution.

The CA ordered the case to proceed to trial, but this time under another Marikina RTC judge, to be chosen by raffle in accordance with the Rules of Court.

The decision of the CA was prompted by a petition filed by SMHC and CMMTC, which sought to reverse Gutierrez’s decision. – Rappler.com

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