Makati regional court denies Ashmore plea
The Makati Regional Trial Court has declared as “invalid and unenforceable” the shareholders agreement executed in 2010 by British fund Ashmore and the group of former Trade Minister Roberto V. Ongpin to form Alphaland Corp.
According to Ongpin’s group, the local court ruled that the agreement was invalid as it contained provisions that violated Philippine laws, particularly the Corporation Code and the Philippine Constitution.
“The court upheld our position that all along, the alleged ‘shareholders agreement’ was not properly and fully executed. And it is also void for being contrary to Philippine law,” Ongpin said in a statement on Monday.
The court thus quashed Ashmore’s bid to enforce in the Philippines an interim arbitration award obtained in Singapore that favored the British firm.
Ongpin said the Makati RTC had denied the application of Alphaland Holdings (Singapore) Pte Ltd—a Singaporean company owned by funds managed by the Ashmore Group plc—for injunctive relief.
For its part, Ashmore said it was “unfortunate” that the Regional Trial Court arrived at its conclusions as stated in its order.
“We find it improper and irregular that the court ruled that the shareholders agreement is invalid when at this point the only issue before it is whether it will grant the Ongpin group’s application for temporary restraining order or Ashmore’s request for assistance to enforce the interim measure of protection issued by the arbitral tribunal in Singapore,” Ashmore said in a statement issued in Manila on Monday.
Ashmore also lamented that the period to file an answer had not expired and said there was no pre-trial or trial yet on this issue.
“This violates Ashmore’s right to due process,” the British fund said.