BIZ BUZZ: Land-grabbing woes hound tycoon | Inquirer Business

BIZ BUZZ: Land-grabbing woes hound tycoon

/ 02:07 AM February 13, 2024

A decades-old property deal that went awry has lured an interesting set of powerful and opportunistic characters looking to pull a fast one at the expense of an aging tycoon.

We’re talking about the recent and unusual Supreme Court resolution that stripped one of the country’s biggest real estate developers of a multi-billion peso property in Taguig.

The case gets weirder the closer one looks.


For starters, the resolution appeared to lack the usual sign-off from the Chief Justice or any judge. We’re told this goes against the Constitution and the court’s own rules. This sign-off is important because it ensures the court’s judgments are the product of collective deliberation before an opinion is penned.


This legal labyrinth began in 1995, when the property developer purchased the land from three siblings, paying the amount and taxes in full.

The problems immediately started when the Bureau of Internal Revenue refused to release the required clearance because of the sellers’ insufficient payment of estate taxes.

Things got worse for the property company, owned by an infrastructure and commodities conglomerate, when one of the three selling siblings was sued by six employees of their transport company for failing to pay back wages, among others, a few years after the land sale.

The labor arbiter eventually awarded one third of the sprawling property to the six employees in a case that spiraled all the way to the Supreme Court.

Acting on the property company’s appeal last year, the high court amended the award and stunningly handed over the entire property to the six lucky employees, allegedly, without hearing the developer’s side.

Adding to its woes, the case has sparked multiple senate hearings, with the company owner shown very harsh treatment on national television.


We’re told powerful politicians and a businessman are in cahoots trying to purchase the land rights of the six employees on the sly. This will give them full ownership of the land that will surely force the property company to settle if they succeed. —Miguel R. Camus

P33B worth of new projects for Marcos

The Year of the Dragon is off to a fiery start with some P33 billion worth of projects now in various stages of development to add to the lengthening tally of big-ticket projects to be started and possibly completed within the term of President Marcos.

Among the largest of these projects are the $13.6-million or P762-million master planned residential community and $12-million or P672-million leisure development project in San Vicente, Palawan, which is envisioned to be the next big leisure tourist destination in the Philippines.

Other projects are a 3,000-square meter commercial mixed-use development in the Manila Bay area expected to cost P16 billion, a P10-billion, three-hectare commercial development project in Bonifacio Global City, a P2.1-billion master planned estate in Rizal and a P2-billion leisure development in Calatagan, Batangas.

The list of eight projects was recently sent to the office of Mr. Marcos by Jose E.B. Antonio, who was earlier appointed by the country’s chief executive as Ambassador-at-Large with the mandate to bring large and job-generating investments to the Philippines.

Given the Marcos government’s commitment to remove investment roadblocks and make the country more attractive to both local and foreign investors, Antonio expects more of these billion-dollar investments to come to the Philippines.

That will fill up his calendar but he’s not complaining.

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With his own Century Properties Group ably run by his sons, Antonio can focus more of his time and attention to giving back and contribute to nation-building. —Tina Arceo-Dumlao INQ

TAGS: Biz Buzz, Business, Real Estate

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