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MANILA - Land Bank of the Philippines on Tuesday said it didn’t conspire with San Miguel Corporation so the conglomerate can buy the bank’s shares in Manila Electric Company on the cheap four years ago.
In a statement, the state-owned bank said it practiced diligence and transparency in the special purchase agreement with Global 5000 Investments Corp., now San Miguel Global Power Holdings Inc.
Land Bank said the Meralco shares were its trading assets, which can be traded in the regular course of business.
"The shares, if sold at P90, in December 2008, when the prevailing market price was P57 per share, would have represented a hefty premium of 58 percent over market price, if it pushed through. But the transaction did not materialize due to the unlawful cancellation by Adjudicator Miñas of Land Bank’s shares in Meralco. The share purchase agreement therefore was not at all implemented in 2008 and even now," Land Bank said.
Moreover, Supreme Court Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin did not rule alone in favor of Land Bank, as the order was rendered by the High Tribunal’s first division, which is composed of five magistrates.
"The bank claims that in any event, the decision sought to be discredited is completely meritorious and can withstand even the most intense legal scrutiny," Land Bank said.
On Monday, Emilio Aguinaldo Suntay III filed a complaint against Land Bank president Gilda Pico, its former chairman Margarito Teves, former trade minister Roberto Ongpin and San Miguel president Ramon S. Ang, urging the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate the alleged plunder and economic sabotage as a result of the Meralco share sale to the food-and-beverage conglomerate.
Suntay said the sale was done "in haste and under anomalous conditions."
Land Bank said its officials "felt" that the complaint is connected to the charges the lender filed in March 18, 2009 before the Ombudsman for plunder and violation of the anti-graft law against Regional Agrarian Reform Adjudicator Minas and other parties. The case includes Josefina Lubrica, an asignee of the family patriarch Federico Suntay, who is Emilio’s grandfather.
The case stemmed from the "unlawful" cancellation and transfer of Land Bank's 42 million Meralco shares worth P2.5 billion, way back in 2008 in favor of Lubrica.
"The Meralco shares, which do not form part of the Agrarian Reform Fund, were illegally levied upon to satisfy the vacated decision of Miñas valuing the property at more than P157 million as against Land Bank’s valuation of P4 million only," the lender said.
This ruling was challenged before the Supreme Court and on December 14, 2011, the High Tribunal ruled in favor of Land Bank, affirming that the order for Meralco to cancel the stock certificates issued to Lubrica was "void and ineffectual."
In the same ruling - Land Bank of the Philippines vs. Federico Suntay, as represented by his assignee, Josefina Lubrica, G. R. No. 188376,) - the Supreme Court declared that Land Bank was entitled to all dividends of the "invalidly" levied Meralco shares.
This meant that Suntay and his family would lose billions from the decision, "which may have prompted him to file a baseless complaint in retribution," Land Bank said.
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