It’s now her turn to be prosecuted.
The Court of Appeals (CA) has turned down the plea of former chairman Margarita “Margie” Juico of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) to drop her as a respondent in a complaint filed by two private firms against her and several others six years ago.
Juico is a yellow devotee of the late president Corazon Aquino and served as one of her assistants and confidante.
Ironically, it was Aquino’s son, former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino, who caused her resignation from the PCSO, after she turned down a memorandum from the former president Noynoy, who demanded that Juico give then DILG secretaryMar Roxas, his anointed for the presidency, control over Juico’s particular act that was deemed detrimental to Roxas’ chances for the presidency in 2016.
The recent CA case against Juico, however, has a different charge.
In a nine-page decision by Associate Justice Ramon Paul Hernando and concurred in by Associate Justices Francisco Acosta and Stephen Cruz, the CA’s Special Fifth Division dismissed Juico’s petition for certiorari and affirmed the orders dated March 25, 2015 and September 22, 2015 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 66 under Judge Jose Villarosa of Makati City.
The case arose from a transaction in December 2009 when TMA Australia and PCSO entered into a joint venture to put up the first thermal coating plant in the Philippines and to make thermal coated paper, synthetic substances and other related products for export and the local market.
However, PCSO issued a resolution suspending the further implementation of the Contractual Joint Venture Agreement (CJVA), prompting TMA Australia and TMA Group Philippines, Inc. to file their complaint with the RTC.
After three years from the filing of the complaint or on May 8, 2014, Juico tendered her resignation as chairman of the PCSO, which was formally accepted by then President Noynoy Aquino on May 9, 2014.
Juico sought redress with the appellate court asking that she be dropped as respondent in the complaint as she was no longer a party-in-interest in the case filed by TMA.
But the CA held that Juico’s resignation does not exempt her from the case.
“Contrary to the claim of petitioner that the complaint states only a cause of action against PCSO which is specific performance of CJVA, it also clearly avers the gross bad faith allegedly committed by the petitioner and her co-defendants as officers of PCSO,” the CA stated.
“Thus, in view of the foregoing, the RTC did not commit grave abuse of discretion when it denied petitioner’s Motion to Drop, as aptly explained by the RTC in its assailed order.”