The local Angeles City newspaper, Punto ran an article that should catch the interest of present and future investors of this project. There has been a long history of problems and delays with the Lexus and the new investors that saved the building and worked hard to get it on the right track under the name of "The Penthouse" now finds it necessary to pursue further legal action in a new direction. It will definitely benefit Angeles City to have the Penthouse on the path to completion so lets hope that this lawsuit will be settled quickly and in favor of its present investors.
Lexus to file administrative charges vs. HLURB execs
By Joey Aguilar Punto newspaper, Sep 06, 2011
ANGELES CITY – Stock-holders and directors of Lexus Landholdings Group are set to file administrative charges against officials of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB)-Region 3 before the Office of the Ombudsman for gross ignorance of the law.
Aside from these charges, Lexus officials will also file separate civil actions against HLURB Arbiter Atty. Dunstan San Vicente and Regional Director Engr. Octavio Canta for issuing recently “a questionable decision that has adverse effects on us.”
“We were all shocked to learn that they found us guilty of administrative and criminal charges as well as civilly liable even if we’re not made parties in the civil actions filed by the complainants,” said the investors in a statement headed by Louis Yakich, a stockholder of Lexus and Yakich and Cuizon Corp.
He added that “this is an evident violation of due process since we were not made parties to the action, we were not summoned and were not given the opportunity to air our side on the charges against our company.”
Lexus Landholdings Group is the owner and developer of Lexus Condo and Hotel, a 12-storey hotel and condominium project in Santos Street, Barangay Balibago in this city.
Punto went to the HLURB-Region 3 office recently to get the side of San Vicente but one of his staff said in a statement that the “arbiter not at a liberty to discuss merits of the case because the decision is not yet final – subject to appeal.”
“It will be subjudice for him to discuss it at this point. The decision can still be reversed or modified upon appeal,” the statement said.
Based on documents obtained by Punto, Lexus was granted the Certificate of Registration and License to Sell the condominium project in September 2007. It started building the units and its pre-selling.
Lexus however failed to complete the project within one year but was granted extensions by the HLURB up to August 2010.
In March 2010 until August 2010, five condominium buyers (all foreigners) filed their individual complaints against the corporation (Lexus) for Specific Performance or Rescission of Contracts with Damages with the HLURB-Region 3 office in the City of San Fernando.
But the complainants did not include any of the directors, officers, stockholders, other persons in control of the project and the corporation as respondents in the civil case they filed.
“While the complaints are for Specific Performance with damages, hence a civil action, the HLURB incorporated administrative and criminal liabilities in the decision without proper charges, in violation of due process, and in violation of the rule on proper joinder of causes of action,” said Atty. Gener C. Endona, counsel of Lexus.
“Even the complaints filed against Lexus did not pray for any liability against the directors, officers, investors and persons managing Lexus,” he added.
Endona also questioned some alleged anomalies in the decision: He entered his appearance as counsel for Lexus in the HLURB Specific Performance cases only on July 26, 2011.
However, in the decision dated July 20, 2011, his name already appeared as the counsel for Lexus.
“Clearly, the decision could not have been signed by Atty. San Vicente and Engr. Canta on July 20, 2011,” Endona said
Records also showed that the decision was released only on August 17, 2011. Three weeks prior to this, Canta has been on leave of absence due to health reasons. Until now, Canta is still on leave.
During the pendency of the five cases, Yakich and Cuizon Corp. (the owner and operator of Lewis Grand Hotel in Don Juico Avenue, Angeles City) and other stockholders acquired 95 percent of the shares of Lexus by virtue of Deeds of Assignment executed by the former stockholders of Lexus on March 21, 2011.
These new stockholders are actually original investors of the project. Records showed that when the project was abandoned by the former stockholders of Lexus, these investors continued to complete the project to protect their investments. From the original two floors constructed by the former stockholders, the present stockholders were able to complete eight floors in few months.
The new owners of Lexus then filed with the HLURB applications to change and alter the plans of the project (from 12 floors to 14 floors). They also filed an application to change the name of the project to “The Penthouse Condo, Hotel and Residences” at the HLURB-region 3 in July 2011.
However, the five complainants opposed Lexus move despite knowing that in their individual contracts to sell, they agreed to allow Lexus to apply for modifications, changes and alterations in the plans and even irrevocably appointed Lexus as the attorney-in-fact to make these changes.
Endona said that he has submitted all the documents and papers required by the HLURB.
He added that he also wrote several letters informing the HLURB to immediately resolve the applications “considering that it would greatly benefit the buyers, including the complainants, if the project is completed under the new improved plans.”
“This would also bring economic progress and benefits in Angeles City and the projected 100 workers to be employed in the project,” he said. Endona also disclosed that despite his everyday follow up, the HLURB did not act on the applications.