POSTSCRIPT / September 25, 2008 / Thursday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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Atty. Reig answers 'Postscript' column

THE OTHER SIDE: Atty. Pitero M. Reig of the Tolentino Corvera Macasaet & Reig law firm based in Muntinlupa City sent this letter to our Editor-in-Chief in reaction to my Postscript column of Sept. 18, 2008:

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September 19, 2008

MR. ISAAC BELMONTE

Editor-in-Chief

THE PHILIPPINE STAR

 

R. Oca, Jr. and Railroad Sts.

Port Area, Manila

Re: Column of Mr. Federico Pascual Jr., entitled “PHC minority owners must protect interests”

Dear Mr. Belmonte:

ln his column published on 18 September 2008, Mr. Federico Pascual again wrote damaging statements against Philcomsat Holdings Corporation (PHC), its Board of Directors and lawyers.

In our letter dated 11 September 2008, we took objection against Mr. Pascual’s patently biased and malicious statements against the abovementioned individuals and refuted his misleading and slanted allegations. It appears that despite our protestations and plea for objectivity and fairness, Mr. Pascual remains persistent and adamant in publicly maligning our clients with baseless accusations, while quoting purloined documents. Mr. Pascual has repeatedly used your newspaper to besmirch and publicly abuse our clients and publicly advance the interest of his adversaries. His persistence leads us to suspect that his motivations and considerations are not purely journalistic. Should this be the case, such columns certainly do not deserve publication in your esteemed newspaper. lt is worth mentioning that Mr. Pascual’s source and the beneficiary of his column was the one who actually filed a case of libel against the editors of your newspaper, to wit: “Erlinda Bildner vs. Enique Locsin, Isaac Belmonte and Miguel Belmonte”, /.S. No. 0BB- 04070.

We wish to emphasize that while Mr. Pascual and his purported sources continually harass and publicly vilify PHC, its Board of Directors and lawyers, the scales of justice continue to tilt in favor of the latter’s legal positions and causes of actions. Instead of studying the merits of such decisions, Mr. Pascual instead chose to make improper insinuations against the issuance of the same and the consideration of the magistrates who issued them.

Mr. Pascual’s allegations of “dissipation”, “systematic looting” of “company assets” are all hearsay and self-serving. These are all unsubstantiated and were released in public solely for calumny and not in pursuit of the truth, the proper venue for which is the regular courts.

The matter of the alleged withdrawal by Ambassador Manuel Nieto Jr. of the petition was already explained in our 11 September 2008 letter. lt is quite absurd how Mr. Pascual could have believed that the supposed withdrawal of the petition referred to in his article and the hiring of the alleged “new counsel” was made by Amb. Nieto with full knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the case when the “new counsel” of Amb. Nieto himself alleged that Amb. Nieto is afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease and unable to comprehend whatever document he is signing.

For the record, Amb. Nieto was still actively participating, with full knowledge of his actions, in the board meetings of PHC when the petition was filed on 10 April 2006. This can be verified by the documents filed with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

As to the matter of alleged “illegal disbursement and expenses” as “summarized in the joint committee report of the Senate committees on government corporations and public enterprises”, the alleged proofs supporting these findings are but products of the unlawful taking, alterations and tampering done by unscrupulous individuals who want to make it appear that the members of the legitimate Board of Directors of PHC have disbursed “suspicious” expenses. In truth and in fact, all of the expenses of the corporation are above board and incurred in the regular course of business.

With respect to the entry regarding the alleged P2,000,000 disbursed by PHC as “cash for an SC injunction”, Mr. Pascual ought to have known that these proceedings are confidential proceedings still pending before the Supreme Court. Mr. Pascual should, therefore, refrain from further causing the publication on this case until the matter has been resolved with finality by the Supreme Court, and from brandishing the information from his polluted “source” as gospel truths, lest his actions be deemed attempts to unduly influence the High Court.

Lastly, worthy of another clarification is the administrative case against Atty. Luis Lokin, Jr., likewise mentioned by Mr. Pascual in his column. lt must be explained that such case arose from a special appearance by Atty. Lokin as counsel in SEC Case No. 09-98-6086. The special appearance that was made was limited to pointing out that SEC had no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the proceedings in light of the lnterim Rules of Procedure for lntra-corporate controversies [A.M. No. 01-2-01-SCl – a fact which was later affirmed by the Regional Trial Court – Branch 149 of Makati City (where SEC Case No. 09-98-6086 was transferred and docketed as Civil case No. 01-840) when it DISMISSED said case for lack of jurisdiction. This administrative case is but a part of a string of lawsuits filed against PHC’s counsels by the disgruntled Ms. Bildner in order to harass and intimidate them.

We trust that this letter will find print in your newspaper in the interest of balanced coverage and in order to clarify the certain malicious and baseless allegations made by Mr. Pascual against our clients.

Thank you.

Very truly yours,

PITERO M. REIG

For the Firm

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of September 25, 2008)

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