CJHDevco paid dividends while claiming losses
Posted: April 10, 2012 | Category: Freeport And Ecozones
THE BASES Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) dared the Sobrepena led Camp John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevco) to open its books to the state agency to prove its claimed financial losses.
BCDA president and chief executive Arnel Casanova called on CJHDevco’s offiicials to be “true to their word and open the company’s books to the government.” He pointed out that BCDA officials are determined to collect from the delinquent lessee because “we are stewards of public property.”
Casanova pointed out that CJHDevco really owes the people of the Philippines and the people of Baguio, and collections from the firm would be funds that would finally go to development projects that have been long overdue.
CJHDevco officials were quoted in published reports saying, “We are prepared to show our books,” the CJHDevco statement said.
Casanova also revealed that CJHDevco has violated several laws while operating in the JHSEZ, including the non-filing of audited financial statements with the SEC since 2002.
“It is a good thing that the House Committee on Bases Conversion has resolved to subpoena the books of CJHDevco to compel its officials to show the firm’s financial records to the government,” Casanova stated.
CJHDevco currently owes P3 billion in unpaid rent to BCDA, the state agency governing the JHSEZ. CJHDevco stopped paying its lease to BCDA as early as 1997, the second year of its stay in the JHSEZ, claiming that it was experiencing operational losses.
While claiming losses, CJHDevco actually released audited financial statements to its shareholders that show that, in 1998, the lessee declared a total of P378 million in dividends to its stockholders. In 1999, it declared a total of P350 million in dividends, and another P200 million of dividends in the year 2000. During these years, they have not paid their lease rentals to the BCDA.
“How can they claim losses during those years while they have been declaring dividends?” Casanova pointed out.
He added that the owners of CJHDevco is obviously trying to exploit government by using public property to generate revenues for themselves without paying their lease to the Philippine government.
CJHDevco is chaired by Robert John Sobrepena, who owns Fil-Estate Corporation. The Sobrepena group also owned and managed the College Assurance Plan (CAP) and the Metro Rail Transit Development Corporation (MRTDevco). CAP has failed to give the educational benefits to its hundreds of thousands of planholders who had invested in the company for the college education of their children. MRTDevco, on the other hand, owes more than P1 billion to the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC).
CJHDevco has stopped submitting its audited financial statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2002, when BCDA discovered that the company has been declaring dividends to its stockholders.
“This is inconsistent with their claims of losses,” Casanova pointed out, adding “we have records to show that they have been earning while operating in the JHSEZ.”
Casanova pointed out that these violations of government regulations are the main reasons the lessee has not been able to acquire permits for operating in the JHSEZ.
“BCDA is a government agency so we require all our private partners to comply with government laws,” Casanova said, adding “We cannot grant permits to a lessee which has not been filing its income tax returns and has a string of violations to government laws.”