STI blames Benitez family for PWU bankruptcy

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 29 2014 11:14 PM | Updated as of Dec 30 2014 07:44 AM

Benitez family denies mismanagement allegations

MANILA – STI Holdings is blaming the Benitez family for the deterioration and bankruptcy of the Philippine Women's University (PWU).

“The Benitez Group is responsible for the deterioration and near bankruptcy of Philippine Women's University and is trying to stir public emotions to mask its refusal to pay what it owes STI Holdings,” STI said in a statement.

STI also denied accusations from the Benitez family that STI's takeover will lead to commercialization of education.

STI said it was the PWU board under the Benitez Group that “approved the so-called ‘commercialization’ of JASMS in Quezon City way back in mid-1990s, receiving P250 million from Jardine Land, Inc. and Northpine One Residences, Inc. but never delivered. So 1.1 hectares of the property was foreclosed.”

"Up until last week when we cited them in default, it was the Benitez Group that called all the shots in PWU. We were a minority and only decided to accept their prepared resignations as provided in our agreements when it became clear we would not be paid," said STI president Monico Jacob.

Jacob added that the quality of education at PWU and JASMS has been deteriorating for years now.

The Benitez family, meanwhile, denied STI’s allegations and calling the claims “propaganda.”

“The Benitez family has denied the allegation of the group of businessman Eusebio Tanco that it had mismanaged the operations of the PWU and criticized the group for ramping up its propaganda campaign in its all-out bid to take over the university and its assets,” the group said in a statement.

The family also dismissed Jacob’s claims that it was the Benitezes who approved the commercialization of JASMS.

“The project that Mr. Jacob cited in his press release was for a new JASMS facility. It was hit by the Asian financial crisis in 1998. Jardine Land turned the cash advances it made for the project into a loan which the PWU could not pay because of financial difficulties,” they said.

The family also maintained it has settled all its obligations to STI, which it said has shown “bad faith” when it issued a default notice.

“STI is the one that has shown bad faith when it filed a notice of default and unilaterally demanded payment of the entire amount within a mere seven days. It assumed PWU’s P230-million loan with Banco de Oro just three years ago and is now demanding P928 million,” Lyca Benitez-Brown, PWU media director said.

STI earlier announced that it has taken over control of PWU following the resignation of key members of the Benitez family on the PWU board.

The Benitez group, however, called the takeover illegal and denied that its board members have resigned.