Gov’t seeks turnover of 72% UCPB coco levy stake

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Gov’t seeks turnover of 72% UCPB coco levy stake
Citing a High Court resolution, the Office of the Solicitor General and PCGG say the disputed UCPB shares are rightfully owned by the Republic of the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – Transfer ownership of over 72.2% of the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) to the government through a writ of execution, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) asked the Sandiganbayan Second Division.

In a 19-page motion filed Monday, June 16, assistant solicitor general Thomas M. Laragan, senior state solicitor Sonny Von N. Ruaya, acting PCGG chairman Richard T. Amurao, commissioner Vicente L. Gengos Jr and PCGG legal department director Maria Luisa M. Narvadez said the official turnover of the UCPB shares is now in order. This is after the Supreme Court (SC) resolution dated November 27, 2012 declared the Republic of the Philippines the rightful owner of the disputed block of shares.

The SC held that the UCPB shares that were subject of the case were “conclusively owned” by the government as “true and beneficial owner”.

But the High Court clarified that the proceeds of the said bank shares are “to be used only for the benefit of all coconut farmers and for the development of the coconut industry.” (READ: Aquino signs EOs on utilization of coco levy funds)

The SC also denied the motion for reconsideration filed by businessman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr in a separate resolution issued on July 17, 2013, the OSG-PCGG legal panel said.

A notice of entry of judgment was subsequently issued by the High Court on December 18, 2013.

“It is settled that once a decision becomes final and executory, vested rights are acquired by the winning party. As such, the winning party can have the said decision executed as a matter of right, and the issuance of a writ of execution becomes a ministerial duty of the court,” government lawyers said.

Based on the PCGG claim filed on behalf of the government, the bank shares were bought using the Coconut Consumers Stabilization Fund Levy (CCSF) which was earlier ruled by the courts to be public in character.

On May 31, the Privatization Management Office of the finance department announced plans to bid out the UCPB shares by September 2015.

It was also reported on June 7 that the camp of Cojuangco filed for the dismissal of 4 coconut levy cases pending before the Sandiganbayan due to the delay in court proceedings. (READ: Danding Cojuangco asks court to junk coco levy cases)

Cojuangco, chairman and former major shareholder of San Miguel, has already allowed the turnover of multibillion-peso coco levy funds to the Coconut Industry Investment Fund (CIIF), which supports over 3 million farmers all over the country. –

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