Thursday, October 29, 2015

BusinessWorld | UCPB shares ordered transferred to gov’t

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“The PCA (Philippine Coconut Authority) and defendant [Eduardo “Danding” M.] Cojuangco, Jr. are hereby ordered to surrender to the Court the necessary documents to effect the transfer of the subject shares of stock in favor of plaintiff Republic of the Philippines,” the 17-page resolution written by second division chairperson Teresita V. Diaz-Baldoz read.

“The UCPB is directed to cancel the subject shares of stock and to issue the equivalent number of shares in the name of the Republic of the Philippines,” it read.

The Presidential Commission on Good Government and the Office of the Solicitor General had asked the anti-graft court to issue a writ of execution to formally transfer the majority stake in UCPB to the ownership of the Republic of the Philippines, following a Supreme Court ruling to that effect in July 2013.

In its ruling, the high court affirmed the shares were bought through taxes -- known as the coconut levy -- collected from coconut farmers during the martial law era.

Forfeiture cases had been filed at the Sandiganbayan against cronies of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos who reportedly amassed several properties and assets using the coco levy funds, including the UCPB shares of Mr. Cojuangco.

But the planned auction of the government’s stake in UCPB remains suspended after the Supreme Court on June 30 imposed an indefinite stay on the sale of coco levy assets.

The temporary restraining order is in response to a May 20 petition by the Confederation of Coconut Farmers’ Organizations of the Philippines, Inc., which argued that President Benigno S. C. Aquino III arrogated to himself the legislature’s power to allocate state funds when he issued early this year two executive orders on the sale of coco levy assets, estimated at P93 billion. -- K. M. P. Tubadeza

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