Sobrepena’s credibility in doing business questioned (not just in Camp John Hay)

BAGUIO CITY — The credibility in the way Sobrepena-led Camp John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevco) Chairman Robert John Sobrepeña who is also MRT Holdings Inc. (MRTH) Chairman is up in question with various issues hounding his companies.

The Koalisyon ng Daang Matuwid said that Sobrepeña’s statements against the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) are only driven by his business interests and not the public’s interest.

Coalition spokesperson and Akbayan Rep. Ibarra Gutierrez said the businessman has been involved in a long line of questionable transactions, among them, the College Assurance Plan (CAP), which sought court rehabilitation due to financial problems, and the issues involving the Camp John Hay Development Corporation.

The mismanagement of CAP has led to thousands of students unable to pursue a college education due to financial losses reported by the company.

Parents’ hard-earned money which was invested in CAP to make sure that their children will be able to acquire a college degree ended in the drain, when CAP was unable to deliver its obligations to provide for the tuition and allowances of the youth who were supposedly covered by the College Assurance Plan.

In Camp John Hay, P3.712 billion in lease rentals for the use of prime properties in the former US military rest and recreation facility have not been received by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), the government corporation tasked by law to manage the facilities left by the US government.

Atty. Arnel Paciano Cassanova, BCDA President, said, “Sobrepena-led Camp John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevCo) for years has reneged on its obligation to pay rentals. They claimed losses, but continued to issue dividends to their stockholders.”

From the lease rentals, 25 percent or 928M should have gone to the city of Baguio and its surrounding communities who are part of the BLISTT (Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, Tublay).This could have financed public services such as the building of schools, hospitals and roads that would have benefitted its residents.

“Milyon-milyon po nawawala sa city at sa national government,” Casanova told the city officials in one of its meetings on the status of Camp John Hay lease rentals.

Aside from CAP and Camp John Hay, the MRT woes, where Sobrepena is again in the forefront affect hundreds of thousands of commuters in Metro Manila who endure, long lines and crowded coaches daily due to the inefficiencies of MRT Holdings.

The MRT Holdings has filed an injunction case with the Court of Appeals stopping the DOTC from acquiring 48 light rail vehicles to augment the need and address the overcrowding.

“The riding public deserves a much better MRT-3 than what the private owner (Sobrepena) is providing. That is why we exercised political will to add new train cars ourselves. Not only did MRTH fail to add them, they even filed a case to stop us when we did, said DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya. MRTH’s case against DOTC is a case against the public. So we are fighting this case for the public interest”, he added.

The CAP, MRTH and CJHDevCo all went to court to stop the government from doing what it needs to do in the performance of its mandate, thus bringing more hardships and inconvenience to the general public./BCDA-PR


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