Posted on Apr 22, 2010

Villar camp: Claim on PSE pressure pure fiction

The camp of Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Sen. Manny Villar lashed back at former president Joseph Estrada and Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile for peddling lies and deceiving the public regarding the propriety of the stock offering of his real estate company.

"Senator Villar is once again being tried publicly via the media by his political opponents. We challenge them to present documents if indeed they have any such credible documents to back their allegations," said lawyer Nalen Rosero-Galang, chief legal officer for Villar.

"We challenge them to file appropriate charges in courts and agencies against the Senator and his companies if indeed violations of laws were committed. Until that time, the public should know that this is clearly nothing but political mudslinging."

Rosero-Galang said the public offering of the shares of stock of Vista Land & Lifescapes was done in compliance with the requirements of the Securities Regulation Code and the rules of the Philippine Stock Exchange.

Both Estrada and Enrile said Villar pressured the PSE board to approve the public offering of the stocks of the company, proceeds of which they claim he used to fund his campaign to the detriment of the company's Filipino stockholders.

Rosero-Galang said Estrada and Enrile were lying through their teeth.

"For the enlightenment of Mr. Estrada and his Honorable Enrile, the bulk of Vista Land shares, or 85 percent thereof, were taken up by foreign investors. So, how can they claim that Filipino investors were duped by Sen. Villar?" she said.

She added that the said public offering was duly passed upon and cleared by both the SEC and the PSE.

"There was full disclosure of all material information as required by law. There was an Offering Circular, which not only complied with Philippine legal requirements but also conformed to the international standards and practices," Rosero-Galang explained.

She added that UBS Investment Bank acted as global coordinator and bookrunner of the international offering of the Vista Land shares, while BDO Capital & Investment Corporation acted as Issue Manager and Domestic Lead Underwriter.

She further disclosed that two reputable Philippine law firms – Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & Delos Angeles and Picazo Buyco Tan Fider & Santos – and two reputable international law firms – Allen & Overy and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom – passed upon the legality of the share offer.

Rosero-Galang also said the pricing of the shares for purposes of the public offer was arrived at through an international bookbuilding exercise that was coordinated by UBS.

"While it is true that Sen. Villar appeared before the PSE Board, there is nothing irregular with the said appearance.PSE listing applicants do that, when deemed necessary to secure the approval of their listing application.

"The PSE is a private corporation, not a government agency. Senator Villar appeared in his private capacity, as a controlling shareholder of an applicant, not as a government official. The lock-up requirement which Vista Land requested the PSE to waive is a requirement under the rules of the PSE, not under any law or regulation.It is well within the power of the PSE to waive any of its rules on just and meritorious grounds.Senator Villar's appearance was to explain the circumstances which make the request for waiver just and meritorious.

"Most importantly, in the end, the PSE Board did NOT grant the requested waiver despite the appearance of Senator Villar. This shows that the PSE Board was not influenced, much less pressured, by Senator Villar's appearance before them. The PSE Board allowed the release from escrow of the shares of one corporation because the Board concluded that those shares were not subject to the lock-up requirement. To reiterate, contrary to the allegations of Mr. Estrada, no waiver was granted by the PSE Board," Rosero-Galang said.

Villar's chief legal officer stressed, "Anent the accusations of Mr. Enrile, we have repeatedly stated that, to date, none of the Villar companies have undelivered undertakings or unpaid obligations to the PAG-IBIG or the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation.

"If they are insisting otherwise, they should present documents to the public, cite figures of any unpaid loan. If they cannot, they should stop rehashing issues, which have long been answered and settled."

Rosero-Galang also categorically denied that Manuela Corporation ever obtained a loan or any credit accommodation from the GSIS or the SSS, and if Enrile insists otherwise, he should present documents to support his claims.

As to Capitol Bank, she said the Villar camp has stated several times that it has no unpaid deposits to its depositors and it has no unpaid obligations to the BSP.

"Has anyone heard of any Capitol Bank depositor complaining that he was not able to get his deposit?" she said.

Now, in the light of all these false information and baseless accusations, who is duping the Filipino people?Certainly, not Senator Villar.