Meralco files countersuit vs PCGG

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 11 2008 11:51 PM | Updated as of Jun 12 2008 07:51 AM

Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) has filed a countersuit against the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) in relation to a dispute over a property in Tagaytay City.

Meralco filed the countersuit to the Sandiganbayan Second Division as it seeks for indemnification of P116 million and another P200,000 in moral damages.

The dispute concerns is a 6,000-square meter lot which was among several properties sequestered by the PCGG in May 1986 on allegations that the properties were part of the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family and their close associates.

The government’s claim was allegedly not annotated at the back of the land title that on August 11, 1993, Meralco had purchased the lot from Nacor Trading Corporation for P9 million.

Lawyer Jose Reny T. Albarico, counsel for Meralco, said the purchase was consummated only ‘after a tedious and diligent examination (that) the title ... was clean and free from any lien or encumbrance whatsoever.’

Once the acquisition was completed,

Meralco erected the Tagaytay Extension Office and Repeater Station on the property after the property acquisition was completed at the cost of P109 million. Albarico described the facility as a ‘logistical backbone’ to the utility firm’s franchise area covering Tagaytay and its immediate environs in Meralco’s 11-page pleading.

The counsel for Meralco said that in the absence of any adverse claim over the subject property, its acquisition by Meralco was legal and beyond question.

"Meralco here is clearly a buyer in good faith for value. Meralco’s entitlement to subject property as its registered owner under the mantle of protection of the Torrens system and the law is beyond cavil," Albarico pointed out.

Meralco in its pleading said that its inclusion in the case by PCGG ‘appears to be frivolous and improvident’. Meralco said it had its name besmirched and its business name tarnished. The government should then be ordered to pay moral damages amounting to P200,000, said Meralco in its pleading to the anti-graft court.

Meralco askd the court for its exclusion as a third-party defendant in Civil Case No. 0173.

The Lopez-controlled firm asked the court for P116 million in compensatory damages to be charged jointly and solidarily against the government and Nacor Trading Corp and sought reimbursement for its litigation expenses and attorney’s fees.