PRIVATE carpark operator Selegna Holdings Corp. has obtained a court order barring the University from taking over the building, escalating the dispute over the carpark’s financial obligations.

This was confirmed to the Varsitarian by UST legal counsel Alvin Dysangco in a chance interview after a court hearing on UST’s appeal to reconsider the preliminary injunction.

The injunction from Branch 45 of the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) means UST and Selegna Holdings must observe “status quo” until the court comes up with a decision on the case or until the order is lifted.

“Yes, na-grant na siya (injunction) late December [last year],” Dysangco said.

No copy

The Varsitarian tried to get a copy of the order from the Manila court, but it refused, saying the case is still being heard. Selegna Holdings also declined to give a copy of the injunction.

Selegna Holdings got a temporary restraining order from the Manila RTC on May 29, 2009 after filing a petition before the court to “interpret or construe” its build-operate-transfer (BOT) agreement with UST over the four-story carpark.

Dysangco said UST is now fighting the petition of Selegna Holdings to elevate the case to an “ordinary civil case” from one of “declaratory relief” or mere court interpretation of the agreement.

Selegna Holdings is facing financial difficulties and has a separate case at the Supreme Court seeking corporate rehabilitation, the same procedure being undergone by failed pre-need firms such as College Assurance Plan and Pacific Plans. Debts have totaled P842 million, court records showed.

In default

Out of the total, P247 million was spent to build the UST carpark in 2004, with P107 million guaranteed by UST.

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Security concerns

Under the BOT contract, carpark revenues must go straight to Metrobank, which financed the construction, with UST getting P1 million annually in royalties. UST has deemed Selegna Holdings in default of the loan payments, and under the contract, may take over management before the expiration of the 15-year deal.

UST lawyers are opposing Selegna Holdings’ rehabilitation plan since “free cash flows” from the carpark business would be used to pay other creditors who do not want in-kind payments, after the Metrobank loan is fully paid.“The proposed Rehabilitation Plan submitted by [Selegna Holdings] is unfair and unjust as it will prevent UST from enjoying its own real property even beyond the concession period under the BOT contract,” said the comment/opposition filed by the Divina & Uy Law Offices, UST’s counsel, with the Court of Appeals in 2008.

The Supreme Court has rejected Selegna Holdings’ petition for corporate rehabilitation supposedly meant to revive its business, upholding earlier decisions by the courts. Selegna Holdings has a pending motion for reconsideration. Prinz P. Magtulis

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