CA grants TRO vs Romero son
MANILA, Philippines–The Court of Appeals (CA) has upheld the right of businessman Reghis Romero II to take possession, management, control and operation of Harbour Centre Port Terminal Inc. (HCPTI), an integrated bulk and break bulk terminal for domestic and foreign vessels at the Manila Harbour Centre (MHC).
In a four-page resolution dated Jan. 5, the Court of Appeals granted the plea for a temporary restraining order (TRO) sought by Romero, HCPTI board chair, president and chief executive officer, and reversed the earlier ruling issued by Pasig City Regional Trial Court Judge Rolando Mislang allowing service provider One Source Port Services Inc. to manage the port facility.
With the TRO, the appeals tribunal effectively barred One Source, HCPTI’s manpower service provider for truck scale and weighbridge operations in MHC, from taking over and exercising control over the port facility from the group of Romero.
One Source, hired by Romero’s son Michael, claimed that HCPTI violated their port ancillary services management contracts. However, Romero claimed one of the contracts had been validly terminated while the other was fake since it was executed by Michael when he was no longer president of HCPTI.
Reghis II and Michael are locked in a legal battle over control of HCPTI. An intracorporate dispute is pending in a Manila court.
On Dec. 1 last year, the Pasig RTC issued a TRO against HCPTI. On Dec. 19, the last day of work in the judiciary before the Yuletide recess, an injunction was issued against HCPTI in favor of One Source.
The same day, a standoff took place at the MHC when about 50 armed men allegedly tried to seize control of HCPTI but were prevented from doing so by police. Ten men were held without bail for possession of high-powered firearms, while 39 are undergoing preliminary investigation.
The appeals court resolution, written by Justice Dante Busuer, halted ongoing proceedings in the case at the Pasig RTC and required Romero’s camp to post an P8-million bond within five days for the TRO to become effective.
“Considering the extreme urgency of the matter involved and in order to render nugatory and ineffectual whatever resolution or judgment may be rendered in the present petition, petitioner’s plea for a temporary restraining order is hereby granted, to be effective upon service and for a period of 60 days unless sooner lifted,” the court ruled.–Jerome Aning
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