CA denies plea to stop filing of rap vs Piatco exec
MANILA, Philippines—The Court of Appeals denied the bid of an official of Philippine International Air Terminals Co. Inc. (Piatco) to stop the Department of Justice (DOJ) from filing criminal charges against him for alleged violation of the anti-dummy law.
In a five-page resolution by the appeals court’s special 11th division through Associate Justice Victoria Isabela Paredes, it said that petitioner Gil Camacho, one of Piatco’s board of directors, failed to show compelling reason to grant his plea for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) and/or a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the DOJ from implementing its orders directing the filing of information for violation of the Anti-Dummy Law against him.
Camacho in his petition said his right to due process has been and will continue to be violated if the DOJ would push through with the filing of a case against him.
But, the appeals court said that “injunction will not lie to enjoin a criminal prosecution because public interest requires that criminal acts be immediately investigated and prosecuted for the protection of society.”
“Moreover, the grounds raised by the petitioners are intricately intertwined with the main issue in the petition; hence, courts are proscribed from extending such reliefs as this has the unwitting result of passing upon the merits of the main action without trial,” the appeals court said.
Aside from Camacho, also recommended for prosecution are Cheng Yong, Peter Henkel, Jason G. Cheng, Jeffeson G. Cheng, Rita J. Bonifer, S. Samin, Lilia G. Cheng, Hachiman Yokoi, Gil Camacho, Katherine Agnes M.C. Arnaldo, Joerg Seyffart, Marife T. Opulencia, Mary Antonette P. Manalo, Ricardo C. Castro, Jr., Hans Arthur Vogel, Dietrich F. R. Stiller, and Noemi S. Dacanay.
The DOJ also recommended the filing of criminal charges against Noemi S. Dacanay, Ricardo C. Castro, Jr., Jorg Seyffart, Rita Bonifer and Lilia G. Cheng who are officers of Philippine Airport and Ground Services (PAGS), Philippine Airport and Ground Services Terminal, Inc. (PTI), Philippine Airport and Ground Services Terminals Holdings, Inc. (PTH) and People’s Air Cargo & Warehousing Co. Inc. (Paircargo).
Under Presidential Decree 715, which amended Commonwealth Act No, 108 or the Anti-Dummy Law, foreign investors are barred from acquiring more than 40 percent ownership in domestic corporations, particularly those involved in the operation and management of public utilities, such as airport terminal.
But the DOJ in its 2011 resolution said documentary evidence showed that “that all foreign investments [into Piatco] without using the control test to determine the nationality of the corporation constitutes 61.44 %, thereby violating the Anti-Dummy Law.”
The case stemmed from the complaint filed by lawyer Jose Bernas who alleged that while Fraport represents 30 percent of Piatco’s equity, which is within the allowable limit of 40 percent equity by foreign firms in utilities, the threshold is exceeded when the indirect holdings of Fraport are factored.
He claimed that Fraport itself has admitted exceeding the allowable equity cap in its request for arbitration before the World Bank.
Concurring with the ruling were Associate Justices Ricardo Rosario and Pedro Corales.
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