ZAMBALES, Philippines – A court has issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), two of its senior executives, and a metal scrap dealer on the disposition of junk materials in an old power plant inside the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (SBFZ).
In a 5-page decision issued April 29, Judge Richard Paradeza of Regional Trial Court Branch 72 barred the respondents led by SBMA Chairman and Administrator Roberto Garcia from seizing and assuming ownership of the junk materials.
The other respondents are SBMA Law Enforcement Department Manager Orlando Maddela; Bonifacio Aporo, owner of Bonapor Metal Contractor Services and General Merchandise; and Bonapor representative Annabelle Magno.
The respondents were temporarily restrained for 20 days and ordered from preventing Fahrenheit Company Limited (FLC) from exercising its rights as owner of the remaining machineries, equipment and furniture inside Building 1800, a power plant used when Subic Freeport was still a US naval base.
The TRO was issued after FLC filed a petition for injunction with damages and “urgent prayer for the issuance of 72-hour and 20-day TRO” on April 24.
In its petition, FCL said that in September 2012, Bonapor bought Building 1800 from the SBMA for P36.5 million ($819,889.19) for all the machineries, equipment, and furniture found inside the building.
Lacks legal authority
On March 13, 2015, the remaining materials in the building were sold to FCL through Magno, who holds a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) dated March 4, 2015, given by Bonapor to dispose of the remaining materials.
On April 17, while workers of FCL were piling up garbage materials into a truck inside the building compound, Bonapor owner Aporo, accompanied by heavily armed Law Enforcement Department (LED) elements in came and disarmed the lone lone security officer.
The security officer and 8 workers, including the truck loaded with such materials, were brought to the LED headquarters. The workers and the guard were released after 3 hours and without charges, but the truck was impounded.
FCL said in the petition that it promptly sent letters to the SBMA and respondent officials on April 20, to protest the takeover and interference of the LED elements but to no avail.
FCL also said in the petition that although Aporo claimed that the SPA given to Magno was revoked on April 16, it “cannot be revoked unilaterally as the agency between them was coupled with interest.”
FCL added that the SBMA, the respondent officials, and Aporo, lacked legal authority and basis to carry out their actions against FCL. It said that there was no existing court order or writ of execution against FCL, and that FCL personnel was not committing any crime at the time.
During the confrontation, the court said Magno, through her lawyer, admitted that she was given an SPA by Aporo authorizing to sell the materials which she used to sign a deed of sale with FCL.
SBMA said it still recognizes Aporo as the owner of Building 1800 as it was not allegedly informed of the transaction made between FCL and Bonapor; and, even with the deed of sale, FCL did not secure necessary permits from SBMA before it began work in the building.
However, the court gave merit to FCL’s arguments and declared the materials found in Building 1800 as sold to FCL by virtue of the deed of sale. It also said that Bonapor and its owner violated the existence of a clear and unmistakable right of the petitioner.
FLC is seeking exemplary damages from the respondents of not less than P1 million ($22,455.40); P1 million ($22,455.40) in attorney’s fees; and P2 million ($44,910.37) in moral damages, plus litigation cost. – Rappler.com
$1 = P44.53
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