Court orders arrest of 5 Pinoys working for Lehman Brothers

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — A Mandaluyong City court ordered the arrest of five Filipinos connected with the bankrupt US-based investment bank Lehman Brothers for alleged violation of the Anti-Dummy Law.

Judge Edwin Sorongon also issued hold-departure orders against Norman Macasaet, Carlos Mañalac, Michael Rabonza, Edilberto Castañeda, and Ana Marie Katigbak for their “failure to submit themselves to the jurisdiction of the court”.

The case stemmed from a complaint filed by businessman- restaurateur Victor “Vicvic” Villavicencio against the Lehman Brothers and its Philippine affiliates Philippine Investment One and Philippine Investment Two.

In a desperate move to stave off the warrant of arrest, the accused filed several pleadings, including a motion for reinvestigation of the case and a motion to quash the arrest warrants issued against them.

Sorongon denied the motions, saying there “was probable cause for their indictment.

In his complaint, Villavicencio, owner of Kamayan and Saisaki restaurants, said he entered into a restructuring deal with Equitable-PCIBank that allowed him to redeem the properties within 10 years.

However, Equitable-PCI sold the assets to an entity called Philippine Investment Two Inc., which is owned by Philippine Investment One Inc. Villavicencio later discovered that Lehman Brother was a majority shareholder of Philippine Investment One Inc.

Villavicencio said he wants to buy back the property from the Lehman Brothers-owned firm for P60 million to P65 million, the same price for which it was sold to the company.

Villavicencio said Lehman Brothers and the accused conspired and simulated the existence of several corporations in order to make it appear that Philippine Investment Two Inc. is qualified to own real properties in the Philippines.

But Villavicencio said Lehman Brothers is the real owner. The Constitution bars foreigners from owning land in the Philippines.

The Anti-Dummy Law limits the management, operation, administration and control of corporations to Filipino citizens.