Datem Inc. has secured a court order freezing five projects of Megaworld as it takes the legal route to collect nearly P1 billion in unpaid dues from ultra bilyonaryo Andrew Tan.
Based on documents obtained by Bilyonaryo.com, Judge Rochelle Yvette D. Galano of Branch 105, Quezon City Regional Trial Court, issued a Writ of Preliminary Attachment (WPA) on Megaworld for its refusal to fulfill its obligation to pay P873,324,248.89 to Datem under a mutual agreement signed in September 2022.
In a statement sent to Bilyonaryo.com, Megaworld insists that it remains in discussions with Datem and has not received any court order related to this.
“At a time this was published, the company has no knowledge of any pending court case about the matter as both parties remain to be in discussion about pending deliverables to the company,” Megaworld said.
The mutual agreement on turnover of contracts covered five projects, namely:
1) Uptown Parksuites Towers 1 and 2;
2) Eastwood Global Plaza corporate tower and luxury residences
3) One Le Grand Tower
4) 18 Avenue De Triomphe
5) Clark Green Frontier
The WPA is intended to secure Megaworld’s assets in anticipation of a lawsuit. It serves as a provisional remedy, aiming to prevent the defendant from disposing of or hiding assets that might be used to satisfy a potential judgment.
DATEM, represented by the law firm Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia, stands as one of the leading construction firms in the country and holds a quadruple A contractor rating from the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board (PCAB). It was established in 1984 by engineers Levy V. Espiritu and Morris S. Agoncillo, along with architect Arnold P. De Asis.
In the court order dated November 9, Judge Galano said that the evidence submitted by Datem demonstrated ‘sufficient grounds to support the claim that defendant (Megaworld) engaged in fraudulent activities in contracting the debt and in fulfilling its obligations.'”
“Through defendant’s false promises that it will pay its outstanding obligations to the plaintiff (Datem), the latter was inveigled to enter into a contract. In the same vein, it has been established that there was willful admission on the part of the defendant to comply with what is ought to be done by it under the contract,” Galano said.
“Verily, the alleged fraud committed by the defendant is taken into account. To the Court, such equates to the defendant’s insincerity in paying the amount due to the plaintiff, knowing fully well that it was already in default. These circumstances of fraud committed undoubtedly support the issuance of Writ of Preliminary Attachment in favor of the plaintiff,” Galano added.
Galano stressed that while Datem has ‘substantiated’ its fraud charges to justify the WPA, this ‘should not in any way affect the merits of the principal case.
Based on the judicial affidavit of Datem contracts manager, Engr. Norman Bautista, Megaworld ignored their demand for payment in the last 12 months because ‘maybe since we have no projects with them anymore.'”
Datem accused Megaworld of employing a ‘consistent pattern of schemes’ to delay or refuse payments and make unauthorized and unilateral deductions.
Datem claimed that Megaworld’s refusal to pay its dues ‘severely crippled’ its cash flow, forcing it to absorb higher costs, suffer losses, and stall the settlement of its dues to its suppliers and subcontractors, all in an effort to “keep its head above water.”
As the firm sought to collect on Megaworld’s dues, Datem said that the developer employed ‘even more sinister and deceitful schemes’ to oust the contractor and gain possession of the projects without settling its debts.
Datem claimed that Megaworld had sold units in the projects covered by the mutual agreement, specifically Uptown Parksuites and 18 Avenue de Triomphe, which accounted for a significant portion of its 2022 revenues.
Instead of paying its debts, Datem claimed Megaworld “continued to misappropriate ” the money owed to the contractor by continuously launching big projects and declaring hefty dividends.