G.R. No. 173082, 6 August 2014
Through a writ of sequestration dated October 27, 1986, the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) sequestered all the assets, properties, records, and documents of the Palm Companies. Said sequestered assets included 16,237,339 Benguet Corporation shares of stock, registered in the name of the Palm Companies.
The PCGG had relied on a letter from the Palm Companies’ Attorney-in-Fact, Jose S. Sandejas, specifically identifying Benjamin “Kokoy” Romualdez, a known crony of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, as the beneficial owner of the Benguet Corporation shares in the Palm Companies’ name.
The Republic, represented by the PCGG, filed a complaint with the Sandiganbayan but did not initially implead the Palm Companies as defendants. However, the Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution dated June 16, 1989 where it ordered said companies to be impleaded. The Court subsequently affirmed this order to implead in G.R. No. 90667 on November 5, 1991.
On September 22, 2006, the Palm Companies filed a Motion to Release Sequestered Funds with the Sandiganbayan. In a Resolution dated January 18, 2007, the Sandiganbayan granted said motion. On May 29, 2007, the companies filed a Motion for Bill of Particulars to direct the Republic to submit a bill of particulars regarding matters in the amended complaint which were not alleged with certainty or particularity.
Whether the writ of sequestration issued against Palm Corporation is valid.
NO. The writ of sequestration issued against Pal Corporation is not valid. The Court has held, that failure to implead these corporations as defendants and merely annexing a list of such corporations to the complaints is a violation of their right to due process for it would be, in effect, disregarding their distinct and separate personality without a hearing.
Here, the writ of sequestration issued against the assets of the Palm Companies is not valid because the suit in Civil Case No. 0035 against Benjamin Romualdez as shareholder in the Palm Companies is not a suit against the latter.
Here, the Palm Companies were merely mentioned as Item Nos. 47 and 48, Annex A of the Complaint, as among the corporations where defendant Romualdez owns shares of stocks. Furthermore, while the writ of sequestration was issued on October 27, 1986, the Palm Companies were impleaded in the case only in 1997, or already a decade from the ratification of the Constitution in 1987, way beyond the prescribed period.
*Case digest by Earl M. Acoymo, Refresher, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2019-2020