MANILA, Philippines – Dr. Helena Benitez, chairperson and long-time creditor of the beleaguered Philippine Women’s University (PWU), has filed a petition before the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) seeking for the rehabilitation of the property.
Benitez submitted a proposed rehabilitation plan to enable it to meet its obligations to its creditors, including STI, without disrupting the conduct of its business.
The plan covers a rehabilitation period providing for the sale of assets to cover part of the debts of PWU, while the rest will be paid in accordance with projected cash flow over a 10-year period.
In a statement released Monday, March 16, the Benitez matriarch filed the petition for involuntary rehabilitation of PWU in a bid to preserve its operations after STI Holdings initiated foreclosure proceedings against the university.
“The foreclosure and sale of any of the properties will extremely prejudice PWU and endanger its existence or survival since the properties are vital to its operations and rehabilitation,” Benitez said in a statement.
Benitez added the foreclosure proceedings will prevent PWU from paying its debts. For instance, PWU owes Benitez P33.6 million ($756.73 million).
“The foreclosure proceedings will also drastically disrupt and stop PWU’s school operations,” she added.
The boardroom drama continues
If the Manila RTC issues a commencement order and a stay or suspension order, such shall “suspend all actions or proceedings, in court or otherwise, for the enforcement of claims against PWU and against third party mortgagers.”
Specifically, the orders will suspend the extrajudicial sale of lands currently occupied by PWU in Manila and JASMS (in Quezon City) worth well over P1.2 billion ($27.02 billion), which STI is seeking as a creditor of PWU.
STI Holdings bailed out PWU in 2011 when it acquired PWU’s loan with BDO Unibank Incorporated worth P223 million ($5.02 million) in 2011 and another P198 million ($4.46 million) to Unlad Resources Development Corporation, the corporate arm of the Benitez family. The loans were secured with PWU and Unlad assets worth over P1.5 billion ($33.78 million).
On March 3, it was reported that PWU raised its settlement offer to STI Holdings of businessman Eusebio Tanco to P644.44 million ($14.51 million) – higher than the initial offer of P550 million ($12.38 million). Still, the latest offer is below the P923 million ($20.77 million) demanded by STI Holdings.
Meanwhile, Manila RTC dismissed the petition filed by PWU and key members of the Benitez family against STI Holdings’ boardroom representation in the beleaguered university.
STI Holdings said in a disclosure to the stock exchange Friday, March 13, that the Manila RTC dismissed the lawsuit filed by the PWU Group, and the Manila RTC did not see any need to proceed with the case as STI Holdings withdrew its bid to install trustees and members of PWU, by virtue of its “step-in” rights as BDO Unibank assignees.
Also on March 16, it was reported that PWU offered Ayala Land Incorporated to redevelop the JASMS property.
“In my ideal scenario, Ayala Land would buy the Tanco property and develop the education commons with PWU,” wrote Gillian Joyce Virata, officer in charge for administration at JASMS Quezon City to Ayala Land. – Rappler.com
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