UST HAS sued multi-deck carpark developer Selegna Holdings Corp. and more than 20 tenants at the carpark, including a firm owned by Thomasian whistleblower Rodolfo Noel “Jun” Lozada and fastfood restaurants McDonald’s and KFC, for entering into lease deals without the University’s approval.

The University is primarily accusing Selegna Holdings of fraud, claiming the carpark firm gave sister companies and children of the owner cheaper rent than other tenants, and sublet the spaces at higher rates.

In a complaint dated December 28, UST lawyers sought a temporary restraining order and an injunction from the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) to stop the supposedly anomalous leases, as well as P3.5 million in damages in part for “impairing the good reputation of UST.”

Selegna Holdings built the carpark under a 15-year build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract signed in 2004, financed by a P247-million Metrobank loan partly guaranteed by the University.

But Selegna Holdings, led by businessman Edgardo H. Angeles, has been having difficulty repaying the loan, and this was because Selegna Holdings and its affiliates have been keeping the earnings, the complaint filed by the law firm of Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina said.

Moreover, UST said it has not been getting its 10 percent share of carpark revenues under the BOT contract.

The contract states that UST can scrutinize the carpark’s lease deals, including payment terms and commercial space layouts.

UST called Selegna Holdings’s attention to the “anomalies” in 2008, the complaint said.

“[D]efendants deliberately and irresponsibly disregarded UST’s contractual right and prerogative of prior approval under the BOT contract and the contracts of lease,” it said.

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The complaint stated that six Selegna affiliates and concessionaires, wholly or partially owned by Angeles and his children, acquired “favorable rental rates.”

“Not only did Selegna affiliates obtain favorable rates, they also surreptitiously contracted sub-lease agreements which resulted in serious losses to UST because the rentals which the lessees are paying to defendant Selegna are much lower than the rentals which the same lessees are collecting from the sub-lessees,” the complaint said.

UST is “continuously being deprived and deceived of the correct amount of its additional share in revenues equivalent to 10 percent of gross rental receipt per month from the commercial spaces [at the carpark].”

UST is asking for P1.5 million in damages equivalent to the actual rental income earned by the carpark but not remitted to UST; P1 million in moral damages; P500,000 in exemplary damages; and P500,000 in attorney’s fees and litigation expenses.

The “fraudulent practices” were “perpetrated” by Selegna Holdings, D2B Multi Ventures Inc., Avent Holdings Corp., Deimos Holdings Corp., Pinthai Food Corp., Elmcrest Holdings Corp., Angeles, and Ma. Rulette Angeles, UST claimed.

Others charged were: Cereality Inc., Pink Gold Gift Shop, Ate Eva’s Grill, San Miguel Food, Inc., Lozada’s Galileo Educational Corp., AVA Food Summit, Funn Food Corp., I-MD’s Food Services, Imperial Dimsum Corp., Quantum Care Medical Products, Inc., Ultimate Burgers, Inc., Manheaven Salon and Beauty Products, Celebration Foods, Inc., Onaka Ippai, Chubby Kitchen Corp., and Top Eats Food Corp.

Whistleblower sued

Engineering alumnus Jun Lozada’s company was also included in the complaint.

In a 2008 interview with the Varsitarian, Lozada— who exposed corruption in the Arroyo administration’s $329-million national broadband network project —denied any dealings in connection with the carpark project amid Internet rumors he had brokered the contract between UST and Selegna Holdings.

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Lozada’s Galileo is an information technology training firm.

Selegna Holdings had sought financial rehabilitation from the courts—the same procedure being undergone by failed pre-need firms such as College Assurance Plan and Pacific Plans—for debts totalling P842 million including the carpark loan, court records showed. The Supreme Court rejected the plan in 2009.

Selegna Holdings is owned by the same group of people behind Asian Construction and Development Corp. or AsiaKonstrukt, the favored contractor of the graft-ridden Expo Pilipino theme park project.

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