"The mayor should act now."
Last month, this corner came out with an article dealing with a 21-story condominium located in the City of Parañaque—the Diamond Bay Towers which was raided by personnel of the Philippine National Police over allegations of housing a Chinese-only prostitution den, the Manila Wellness Spa on the 3rd floor.
But aside from the alleged prostitution den, Diamond Bay Towers which is located in 150 Roxas Blvd, Baclaran, Parañaque owned by Standford Resources and Development Corp. and reportedly headed by one Bennie Cuason, is also suspected of hosting several POGO outfits as an unusual large number of Chinese entering the building, together with foreign construction workers.
And most probably, these POGOs or any Chinese firm operating inside Diamond Bay Towers, could be illegal for the simple fact the said building and its owners, as documents secured by this writer reveal, have been operating for years without any valid business permit.
Accordingly, Cuason incorporated Standford Resources and Development Corp. in 1994 and one of its big projects was the development and construction of three condominium buildings called Diamond Bay Towers. It secured a development permit from the HLURB as well as a Building Permit from the City of Parañaque all named under Cuason as the owner.
But a new set of documents provided to this writer bare that the building has already been inspected by Office of the City Building Official of the City of Parañaque and was found to have been illegally accepting tenants despite the fact it was not issued a certificate of occupancy.
In fact, City Building Official, Architect Elmor Vita, has already notified the Office of Mayor Edwin Olivarez in a letter dated Sept. 26, 2019.
It’s been almost a month and a half since his office was notified of Diamond Bay Towers’ violation and yet, his office has to take any action.
It’s paramount for Olivarez to take action against Diamond Bay Towers and its owner, Standford Resources as apparently, the non-issuance of a certificate of occupancy is not the only issue it is dealing with.
As what this writer has written before, based on the documents, Standford enticed the general public to put in investment worth millions of pesos either as investors, creditors, unit buyers or all for the said project.
However, after reportedly getting the money from the aforesaid investors, creditors and unit buyers, Standford suddenly filed a petition for Rehabilitation and Suspension of Payments with the Securities and Exchange Commission apparently to purposely evade the continuation of the construction of the Diamond Bay Towers and to enable its officers Cuason and four others to hide behind the legal cloak of corporate rehabilitation thereby escaping payment from its investors, creditors, unit buyers, as well as local government taxes.
The petition, however, was dismissed on Oct. 13, 2000 and Standford was declared technically insolvent meaning that no further rehabilitation was possible. The company was placed under receivership for the purpose of liquidating all of its remaining assets to pay off creditors.
Interestingly and suspiciously, despite the supposed financial distress of Standford having been declared insolvent by the SEC, it was still able to continue the construction and development of the Diamond Bay Towers but allegedly with a different set of investors without the approval of the SEC, prompting the SEC to reprimand Cuason.
This incident is so alarming as the scheme victimizes the general public by using the cloak of corporate rehabilitation law, thereby circumventing the purpose of its enactment and giving the culprits a pale excuse to be free from their apparent liability to their creditors and investors, both civil and criminal. Lawmakers should take heed that the law they enacted is being used against the very public which it was designed to protect.
The project, while legally considered insolvent and for liquidation is still being brazenly being offered for sale and lease to the unsuspecting general public as of this writing. The company is said to now only accept Chinese buyers or lessors. No Filipino buyers allowed. This is believed to be a scheme employed by the perpetrators in order to circumvent local authorities.
And aside from operating without the necessary permits, having been ordered for liquidation, other agencies, particularly the HLURB, the SEC, the Department of Labor and Employment and even the local government of Parañaque, have sent notices of various violations to Standford.
And how was Standford able to escape all these? According to the same set of documents this writer secured, Diamond Bay Towers is now operating under a different company name—Hua Shang Philippines Development and Management Company, but still points to Cuason as owner when employees of the building were asked.
However, Cuason seemed to overlook something as when he decided to change the name of the operator of Diamond Bay Towers, the original titles. The land title as well as the commercial unit titles are still under Standford’s name. It cannot feign ignorance or wash its hands clean of this incident.
Olivarez should act now, close the establishment and maybe initiate a full-blown investigation on Standford, Hua Shang and Cuason.