MANILA, Philippines - The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) filed an estafa complaint against the board of directors and officials of Camp John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevCo) before the Department of Justice for "conspiring with one another to perpetuate fraud" against the BCDA.
BCDA president Arnel Casanova questioned CJHDevCo's claims of losses, while it was also declaring dividends to its stakeholders.
"How can they claim losses during those years while they have been declaring dividends?" Casanova said, in a statement.
The 39-page complaint charged the 1998-2000 CJHDevCo board of directors and officials led by chairman Robert John L. Sobrepeña of deceiving the BCDA, through false pretenses and fraudulent acts, into deferring collection of CJHDevCo's outstanding rental obligations, which has caused damage to BCDA and the government.
In its complaint, the BCDA said under the terms of the 1996 Lease Agreement, CJH DevCo was supposed to pay an annual rent of P425 Million or 5% of gross revenues for the first five years of the lease, whichever was higher.
It noted that for the years 1998, 1999, and 2000, the government was supposed to receive P1.275 billion in rentals.
The complaint alleged CJHDevCo misrepresented the state of its finances to BCDA and misled it, saying that CJHDevCo was not financially capable of paying the annual rentals.
While in 1998, Sobrepeña claimed that CJHDevCo's operations were "financially adversely affected", the company had declared cash dividends totalling P928 million in the years 1998, 1999, and 2000.
"The declaration of dividends is inconsistent with and belies CJH DevCo's claim that it was financially incapable of paying P1.275 billion in rentals for those same years," the complaint stated.
Last August 15, the BCDA filed before the Department of Justice 52 counts of malversation against the Board of Directors and officials of CJHDevCo and its subsidiary, Camp John Hay Hotel Corporation.