PALUSOT : Bad Governance in Corporations

by Jess Lorenzo

Posted at Jul 14 2012 12:36 AM | Updated as of Jul 14 2012 08:36 AM

During the 1990’s the pre-need market was at a boom and CAP (College Assurance Plan), the leading pre-need provider sold millions of policies to families and individuals generating more than Php20 Billion. CAP is controlled by the Sobrepena group who also put together the Camp John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevco) which obtained the lease and development rights of Camp John Hay in 1996. In the whole 16 years, CJHDevco was only able to pay one year lease and became delinquent in all the other years till the present. To date, CJHDevco owes the government P3Billion pesos in back lease payments. Over P700 million of which would have gone to Baguio local government.

By May 2005, the leading pre-need CAP, was declared P21 billion short in covering the educational policies they have committed to. In other words, CAP cannot fund the education plans they promised. On top of this 21 Billion he owes families and students, he also owes the government 3 Billion.

Since the 2003, the Sobrepena and his group has been evading paying the public and the government what they owe. BCDA has granted them several means. They have gone thru several revisions in their agreement. But it seems, the Soprepena had a different agenda. PALUSOT. All this time, the Sobrepenas merely sought to evade their accountability to their contracts with the government. Unfortunately for CHJDevCo, their schemes do not work with the present BCDA president. Atty. Arnel Casanova, also part of the Core group of Kaya Natin Movement for Good Governance, terminated their contract and ordered CHJDevCo to vacate Camp John Hay.

“The breaches, which involve disloyal, dishonest, fraudulent and self-dealing conduct, are so serious that they have fundamentally destroyed and frustrated the purposes, not to mention, the very heart and essence of the contract,” Casanova said in the termination notice.

Recently, the Sobrepena group filed perjury cases against BCDA President, Arnel Casanova for informing the public of a log cabin that was “double-sold” by the CJHDevco. Sobrepena claims that Atty. Arnel’s public disclosure and estafa case against CJHDevco hurt their business and sales. In my view, it seems they are resorting to intimidation and harassment perhaps because Atty. Casanove refuses to submit to their “palusot” proposals which they have gotten away with in recent administrations. It seems the Sobrepena this time has met an incorruptible.

In 2007, Mrs. Corona, (wife of Impeached-Chief-Justice Renato Corona) was appointed as chair and president of the John Hay Board. On July, 2010, Frank Daytec, Operations head of John Hay, filed a case against Mrs. Corona for misuse of funds. It makes sense to me why Mrs. Corona was placed as there.

Since then, it seems that Sobrepena has gotten away with making bad deals with the government. He has restructured his deals so that we always get the short end of things. Imagine being a landlord of a tenant who only paid 1 year of rent out of 16 years occupancy. Why? It was because they declared P900 million in dividends to shareholders instead. They did not file the correct financial statements with SEC and they still continued to operate. Why? Because they simply believe that they can. Imagine this tenant who also defrauded millions families of their hard earned money. Will you kick him out? Well that tenant is Robert Sobrepena with his band of supporters that include the former Chief Justice Renato Corona.

On a separate but highly coincidental move, Howard Calleja recently filed a case with the ombudsman against Arnel Casanova for usurpation of authority. Atty. Howard refuses to admit he is acting on behalf of Sobrepena. He is presently representing the Ampatuans and who has also declared that Malacanang is receptive to making a deal with the Ampatuans.

Sobrepena seems to be resorting to anything just to remove or intimidate Atty. Arnel Casanova.

Two nights ago, we met with Atty. Arnel.

We need to condemn these kinds of business practices as we fight towards good governance. We need to make corporations like CAP or CJHDevco accountable.

The board of directors of CAP who owe billions to families in educational plans are:

Alejandro R. Roces, Chairman Emeritus
Ambassador Raul I. Goco, Chairman
Atty. Enrique A. Sobrepeña, Jr., President & CEO
Col. Coronado P. Muñasque (Ret.), Corporate Secretary
Mr. James Marsh Thomson, Corporate Treasurer
Mr. Ernesto V. Espaldon, Jr., Director
Mr. Quintin S. Doromal, Director
Mr. Robert John L. Sobrepeña, Director
Mr. William Russell L. Sobrepeña, Director
Ms. Gillian Akiko N. Thomson, Director
Mr. Arleigh Joseph A. Espaldon, Director
Mr. Silvestre H. Bello III, Director

As of today, I have yet to get the Board of Directors of Camp John Hay Development Corporation, led by Sobrepena. We need to name these people so they cannot hide. When you meet these people, ask them why they support Robert Sobrepena.


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Jess Lorenzo is currently the program director of Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership's public health initiatives. @kayanatin on Twitter

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