Businessman cleared in P1-B estafa case

September 14, 2014

(The Philippine Star) | Updated September 8, 2014 – 12:00am
Bob-PhilStar-Sept

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/09/08/1366608/businessman-cleared-p1-b-estafa-case

MANILA, Philippines – The chairman of Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevCo) was absolved of estafa charges after the Pasay City regional trial court found no probable cause in allegations that he falsely represented to the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) that his firm was incapable of paying rent on 247 hectares in John Hay Special Economic Zone (formerly Camp John Hay) in Baguio City.

The decision on the P1.15-billion estafa case was promulgated last Sept. 3.

BCDA president and chief executive officer Arnel Casanova had filed the complaint for estafa against Robert John Sobrepeña.

Last June, the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted Sobrepeña for alleged failure to pay rent to BCDA.

The court rejected arguments that CJHDevco had shunned its rental obligations to BCDA.

“To the mind of the Court, it is not the alleged misrepresentation by the accused Sobrepeña that impelled or induced complainant BCDA in the execution of the three MOAs (memoranda of agreements) as above quoted,” read the decision.

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
The Court said a joint committee of officers of CJHDevCo and BCDA ruled to allow the deferment of payments.

“If there was misrepresentation as to the financial condition of CJHDevCo, the officers/directors of BCDA who are members of the committee might have been remiss, if not fell short, of their duty to determine the financial capacity or incapacity of CJHDevCo to pay its obligation,” read the decision.

The Court said Sobrepeña was transparent with the BCDA.

“There is no evidence that accused Sobrepeña concealed the corporate records and financial statements of CJHDevCo to BCDA,” read the decision.

“There is no evidence showing that accused Sobrepeña persuaded, if not insisted, BCDA to enter into the said contract.

“The very stipulations of the MOAs appear to be a product of negotiations, verification and careful, if not meticulous, evaluation.”

The Court said the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel and the Office of the President had approved the MOA, dated July 14, 2000.
BCDA had acknowledged that problems CJHDevCo had encountered led to the firm’s request for deferment of payments, the Court added.

After making a rental payment of P425 million in the late 1990s, CJHDevCo and BCDA signed a MOA on Aug. 5, 1999 for the demolition of structures inside Camp John Hay.

BCDA also agreed to issue the requisite Environmental Compliance Certificate.

The two parties agreed to defer lease rental payment for the second year.

Another MOA, dated July 14, 2000, further acknowledged the delay by BCDA and John Hay Poro Point Development Corp (JPDC) in the demolition of structures inside Camp John Hay.

It resulted in the long delay in turning over possession of portions of the leased area.

Due to the Asian economic crisis, CJHDevCo stakeholders had to resort to loans to continue development of the leased area, among other factors authorizing deferred rental payments.

A third agreement, dated July 18, 2003, acknowledged that the Office of the President approved the July 2000 MOA.

CJHDevCo executive vice president Al Yñiguez said the decision shows that Sobrepeña and the firm have always been up front and transparent in dealing with BCDA.

“At the onset, we knew this was a harassment case,” he said.

“The board was cleared of charges by the prosecutor in June so it was odd that a case was still filed against Mr. Sobrepeña.” – Edu Punay, Perseus Echeminada, Paolo Romero


Do you know…..

June 26, 2014

Do you know…..

That It was ruled by the Court that…. “Association dues, membership dues & other assessment or charges collected from the Members, which are merely held in trust and which are to be used solely for administrative expenses in implementing their purposes… must not be in included in the Association’s gross income… this means that the same are not subject to income tax and to withholding tax.”

Phil Star, June 23, 2014


Comment from a investor of CAP

June 21, 2014

Wow! So much money! Why can’t they pay us when we were collecting? Where are the many people who lost money on their investments in Sobrepeña related projects and college plans? It is time to wake up! They are flaunting our money and we should do something about it! If you filed a case in the past and nothing happen; follow it up! Force the judiciary to revive your case so you can collect. Remember, evil people will prosper if the good people do nothing to stop them. This is our chance! Come out and be heard again!


Camp John Hay exec posts bail in P1.15B estafa case

June 18, 2014

By Jaymee T. Gamil
Philippine Daily Inquirer
3:12 am | Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/611809/camp-john-hay-exec-posts-bail-in-p1-15b-estafa-case#ixzz34zPhTEyT
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MANILA, Philippines–Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevCo) chair Robert Sobrepeña posted bail after a Pasay judge issued a warrant for his arrest in connection with the P1.15-billion estafa case filed against him by the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA).

On Monday morning, Sobrepeña personally appeared at the Pasay Regional Trial Court Branch 119 to post bail of P40,000.
“With the posting of bail, the warrant of arrest is lifted,” CJHDevCo spokesman and lawyer Manuel Ubarra Jr. told the Inquirer in a phone interview.

It was reported over the weekend that Judge Pedro de Leon Gutierrez had ordered Sobrepeña’s arrest after the Department of Justice indicted him on June 10 for his failure to pay the BCDA for the rental of 247 hectares within the John Hay Special Economic Zone (JHSEZ).

The BCDA earlier accused Sobrepeña of making fraudulent financial declarations to evade full payment of rental fees from 1998 to 2000.

Under a 1996 lease agreement, CJHDevCo was supposed to pay an annual rent of P425 million to the BCDA or five percent of the gross revenues for the first five years of the lease. For the years 1998, 1999 and 2000, BCDA was supposed to receive a total of over P1 billion in rental fees.

However, BCDA president and chief executive officer Arnel Casanova had earlier noted that the firm officials’ “representations on their finances were fraudulent and misleading.”

“The real issue here is CJHDevco’s nonpayment of lease rentals to government while declaring dividends, extending cash advances and assignment of shares amounting to P1.274 billion to its stockholders in 1998 to 2000,” Casanova said.

In a statement on Monday, Sobrepeña denied the allegations against him, and said the case was filed “purely for harassment.”

Ubarra noted that the P1.15 billion being claimed by the BCDA in its estafa complaint was one of the issues already submitted for resolution in an ongoing arbitration case.


Court orders Sobrepeña’s arrest

June 17, 2014

By Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer

8:13 am | Sunday, June 15th, 2014
Read more: http://business.inquirer.net/172909/court-orders-sobrepenas-arrest#ixzz34rwa7zMn
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MANILA, Philippines—A Pasay City regional trial court has ordered the arrest of businessman Robert John L. Sobrepeña after the Department of Justice indicted the chair of the Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevCo) in a P1.15-billion estafa case.

Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevCo) chairman and CEO Robert John L. Sobrepeña. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The arrest was ordered by Judge Pedro de Leon Gutierrez, the state-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) said on Saturday.

“With the warrant out, Sobrepeña is now a fugitive from justice until such time that he is arrested or posts bail,” said BCDA president and CEO Arnel Paciano D. Casanova.

In a resolution approved on June 10, justice department prosecutors found probable cause to charge Sobrepeña with the crime of estafa under the Revised Penal Code for alleged nonpayment of rent to the state development company.

Sobrepeña on Saturday assailed the DOJ resolution, claiming that his company had already paid 40 percent of what it owed the government.

The case covers only P1.15 billion, but CJHDevco allegedly owes BCDA at least P3.4 billion in unpaid rent for the lease of a 247-hectare area in the John Hay Special Economic Zone. This area includes the Manor, the Camp John Hay Suites and the golf course, among others.

“Contrary to CJHDevco’s claims, we consistently upheld our end of the lease contract and—on three occasions—even agreed to amend it at their behest to give the lessee ample opportunities to make good with their commitments. Little did we know, as the DOJ resolution points out, that their representations on their finances were fraudulent and misleading,” Casanova said.

“The real issue here is CJHDevco’s nonpayment of lease rentals to government while declaring dividends, extending cash advances and assignment of shares amounting to P1.274 billion to its stockholders in 1998 to 2000,” he added.

Casanova pointed out that the DOJ resolution was a “victory” for government and the people of Baguio City and the Cordilleras who are entitled to 25 percent or P850 million of the total arrears.

“BCDA is committed to collect what is due to the government under the terms of the contract.  This resolution brings to justice BCDA’s claims against CJHDevCo,” he said.

The BCDA earlier claimed that CJHDevco had been delinquent in its payment of rentals and arrears for a 25-year lease, the agreement for which was signed in 1996.

RELATED STORIES

 

DOJ files malversation case vs Sobrepeña group

BCDA sues Sobrepeña firms for “squatting” in Camp John Hay compound

DOJ approves estafa case vs Sobrepreña over CJHDevCo.’s unpaid arrears, rentals
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Pasay judge orders arrest of CJHDevco’s Sobrepeña

June 17, 2014

Details

Category: Nation

14 Jun2014

Written by Catherine N. Pillas

THE Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Pasay City has issued a warrant of arrest against businessman Robert John

L. Sobrepeña for alleged crime of estafa.

A news statement said the arrest was ordered by Judge Pedro de Leon Gutierrez of Branch 119 of the RTC of Pasay City.

The warrant came on the heels of a June 5, 2013 resolution by the Department of Justice (DOJ) penned by Catherina Isabel C. Caeg to charge Sobrepeña, Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevco) chairman, with the crime of estafa under Article 315 (2) (a)  of the Revised Penal Code.

“With the warrant out, Mr. Sobrepeña is now a fugitive from justice until such time that he is arrested or posts bail,” said Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) President and Chief Executive Officer Arnel Paciano D. Casanova.

CJHDevco reportedly owes at least P3.4 billion in unpaid rent to BCDA, the state agency governing the John Hay Special Economic Zone (JHSEZ). This unpaid rent pertains to the lease by CJHDevco of a 247-hectare area in the JHSEZ, which includes the Manor, the Camp John Hay Suites and the golf course, among others.

“Contrary to CJHDevco’s claims, we consistently upheld our end-of- the-lease contract and—in three occasions—even agreed to amend it at their behest to give the lessee ample opportunities to make good with their commitments. Little did we know, as the DOJ resolution points out, that their representations on their finances were fraudulent and misleading,” the statement, quoting Casanova, said. “The real issue here is CJHDevco’s non-payment of lease rentals to government while declaring dividends, extending cash advances and assignment of shares amounting to P1.274 billion to its stockholders in 1998 to 2000.”

Casanova added, “This is a victory for government and the people of Baguio City and the Cordilleras who are entitled to 25 percent, or P850 million, of the total arrears.  BCDA is committed to collect what is due to the government under the terms of the contract.  This resolution brings to justice BCDA’s claims against CJHDevco.”

The DOJ resolution pointed out that “CJHDevco deliberately chose not to perform its rental obligations to BCDA despite knowledge of such and existence of retained earnings and other revenues.”

The 36-page DOJ resolution also stated that “BCDA suffered damage and prejudice in the amount of One Billion One Hundred Fifty Million Four Thousand One Hundred and Thirty-Four Pesos (P1,150,004,134) which  represents the difference between the amount it was entitled to receive under the lease agreement  had it insisted on the performance of CJHDevCo’s rental obligations.…”

It would be recalled that under the terms of the 1996 Lease Agreement, CJHDevco was supposed to pay an annual rent to the BCDA of P425 million or 5 percent of gross revenues for the first five years of the lease, whichever was higher.  This meant that for the years 1998, 1999 and 2000, the Government was supposed to receive P1.275 billion in rentals.

In 1998 Sobrepeña claimed that CJHDevco’s operations were adversely affected financially by several factors, and that its actual losses amount to a total of P1.445 billion and were increasing daily. This led to the first restructured agreement in 2000. CJHDevco, however, concealed the fact that it declared cash dividends totaling P928 million in the years 1998, 1999 and 2000.

“We believe that the DOJ finding of probable cause against Mr. Sobrepeña for the crime of estafa will strengthen BCDA’s position in our pending arbitration case against CJHDevco at the Philippine Dispute and Resolution Center,” Casanova said.

Sobrepeña is also affiliated with Fil-Estate Corp., College Assurance Plan, and the Metro Rail Transit Development Corp.

Catherine N. Pillas


Arrest warrant out for Camp John Hay’s Sobrepeña

June 17, 2014

The businessman owes the Bases Conversion and Development Authority damages worth P1.15 billion. Until he is arrested or posts bail, he is considered a ‘fugitive from justice’

Rappler.com

Published 3:40 PM, Jun 14, 2014

Updated 10:07 AM, Jun 16, 2014

MANILA, Philippines – An arrest warrant for estafa has been issued by a Pasay City Regional Trial Court against businessman Robert John L. Sobrepeña.

This was after the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday, June 10, charged him with estafa for owing the state-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) damages worth P1.15 billion. (READ: Baguio’s Camp John Hay chair indicted for P1.15-B estafa)

Pasay RTC Judge Pedro de Leon Gutierrez issued the arrest warrant.

BCDA president and CEO Arnel Paciano D. Casanova said that until such time that Sobrepeña is arrested or posts bail, he is “now a fugitive from justice.”

Sobrepeña, chairman of the Camp John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevCo) is also affiliated with Fil-Estate Corporation, College Assurance Plan (CAP) and the Metro Rail Transit Development Corporation (MRTDevco).

In August 2012, BCDA filed with the DOJ an estafa complaint against CJHDevCo board of directors and officials for misrepresenting the state of the company’s finances, misleading the government into believing that CJHDevCo was capable of paying its annual rent.

CJHDevCo had accumulated lease payment arrears to the BCDA amounting to P3.4 billion, of which, 25% or P850 million, which belongs to the people of Baguio and surrounding municipalities.

Lease agreement

Under the terms of a 1996 lease agreement, the company was supposed to annual rent amounting to P425 million or 5% of gross revenues for the first 5 years of the lease, whichever was higher. This meant that for 1998, 1999, and 2000, the government was supposed to receive P1.275 billion in rental payments.

In 1998, Sobrepeña claimed CJHDevCo’s operations were adversely affected, resulting in losses of P1.445 billion, which was increasing daily. As a result, the agreement was first restructured in 2000.

CJHDevCo, however, concealed the fact that it declared cash dividends totalling P928 million in the years 1998, 1999, and 2000. (Editor’s note: It was earlier written that CJHDevCo did not declare cash dividends totalling P928 million in the years 1998, 1999, and 2000. We regret the error.)

In its resolution, the Department of Justice pointed out, “CJHDevCo deliberately chose not to perform its rental obligations to BCDA despite knowledge of such and existence of retained earnings and other revenue.”

The DOJ resolution stated that based on its 1998 financial statements, “CJHDevCo could have very well met its rental obligation of P425,001,378 million had it chosen to do so as seen by its acts of disposing P674,065,290 by way of dividends ….”

Casanova declared the finding of probably cause against Sobrepena will “strengthen BCDA’s position in our pending arbitration case against CJHDevco at the Philippine Dispute and Resolution Center.” – Rappler.com


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