New arrest warrants out vs Washington SyCip's son, 6 others over estafa

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 21 2019 12:20 PM | Updated as of Apr 22 2019 05:15 PM

MANILA - (UPDATE) A Makati court has issued new warrants of arrest against the son of the late business tycoon and philanthropist Washington SyCip and 6 others over an estafa charge stemming from an alleged investment fraud.

Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 57 Judge Honorio Guanlao, Jr., in warrants dated April 11, 2019, ordered the arrest of George SyCip, former chairman of the board of tuna-canning firm Alliance Select Foods International. 

Ordered arrested with SyCip are 6 other former executives of the company: Jonathan Dee, Alvin Dee, Joanna Dee-Laurel, Arak Ratborihan, Grace Dogillo and Teresita Ladanga.

Bail was set at P120,000 each.

Alliance, on Monday, issued a statement saying the accused are no longer executives of the company and that the case would not affect the firm's performance. 

The issuance of arrest warrants comes as the Makati court dismissed the plea of the Dees, Dee-Laurel and Ladanga to have the earlier warrants of arrest against them junked through a motion to quash and a motion to dismiss for lack of probable cause.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) in March 2018 had found probable cause to indict SyCip and the 6 others for estafa under the Revised Penal Code. 

Alliance foreign shareholders Harvest All Investment Limited, Victory Fund Limited, Bondeast Private Limited, and Hedy S.C. Yap Chua claimed that they were enticed to invest millions in pesos and dollars in SyCip's company on the false pretense it was a "yielding business." 

The investments involved are P75.25 million, $65,555, P170,000, P4.98 million, P156.69 million, $1.19 million, $1.54 million and $500,000.

But the DOJ found that Alliance turned out to be a "vehicle to bail-out the Dee companies." 

The law punishes the act of "using fictitious name, or falsely pretending to possess power, influence, qualifications, property, credit, agency, business or imaginary transactions, or by means of other similar deceits."

In denying the motions to quash and to dismiss of the Dees, the Makati court said "the evidence on record clearly established the existence of probable cause."

The foreign investors had earlier filed syndicated estafa and falsification of documents complaints against SyCip and 6 others but these were junked by the DOJ.

The legal tussle involving Alliance began in January 2014, when complainants wrote the firm’s executives to invoke their right to inspect its corporate books and records due to “substantial financial downturn which adversely impacted its share price in the market.” 

Editor's note: 
George SyCip is the former chairman of the board of tuna-canning firm Alliance Select Foods International, not the incumbent. We regret the error.