PWU: Benitez family not in default

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 24 2014 12:56 PM | Updated as of Dec 24 2014 08:57 PM

MANILA – The Philippine Women's University (PWU) maintained that it is not in default, contrary to claims of STI Holdings led by the Tanco group.

PWU reiterated in a statement released on Wednesday that the STI’s takeover of the university is illegal because the resignation of the Benitez family is contingent on the default.

"We reiterate our position that PWU is not in default and the takeover attempt is therefore illegal. The pre-signed, undated resignation letters that were presented to the media are also immaterial, since their effectivity is contingent on PWU's default,” PWU said.

“STI should refrain from misleading the public by claiming that the Benitez family has resigned from the Board,” it added.

The dispute between the Benitez group of the PWU and the Tanco group of STI Holdings stemmed from a notice of default issued by STI in relation to PWU’s alleged debt amounting to more than P920 million.

STI later said it has taken over PWU after the Benitez group failed to pay the amount. STI said it has taken over eight out of the 10 board seats and 11 of the 15 memberships following the resignation of key members of PWU belonging to the Benitez group.

However, PWU called the takeover by STI “illegal" and denied that the founders of the university resigned as board members and trustees.

“Eusebio Tanco’s STI Holdings recently issued a press release claiming the Benitez family resigned from PWU, thereby allowing him to take over PWU. The claims are baseless and the so-called take-over is illegal,” PWU earlier said.

PWU added that the issuance of the default notice and the takeover attempt were retaliatory moves by STI because the PWU-JASMS community resisted the idea of STI's Tanco group to commercialize the JASMS Quezon City campus.

STI, on the other hand, claimed it was the Benitez group that approved the commercialization of the JASMS campus.

“Mr. Tanco and STI only came into the picture when it bailed out PWU and Unlad Resources in November 2011 before PWU was to be foreclosed upon by Banco de Oro. Please note that STI could have cited the Benitez Group in default as early as November 2011 for failing to meet its obligations under the bail-out agreement. Specifically, the Benitez Group was supposed to raise the authorized capital of Unlad Resources to P1.5 billion within that month to allow the conversion of STI’s loans into equity, which in effect was how STI was to be paid,” STI said in a statement released Tuesday.

“That it took STI three long years waiting for the Benitez Group to comply with its obligations signified its sincere intention to help PWU and its studentry,” it added.

STI, being a publicly-listed firm, also maintained that the takeover was made to protect the interest and shareholders of the company.