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Solar I owners charged with violating anti-dummy law

March 27, 2007

03/26/2007 | GMANews.TV

THE Department of Justice on Monday charged with violating the anti-dummy law the Japanese nationals and Filipinos behind the company that owned the ill-fated tanker which caused the infamous Guimaras oil spill last year.

State prosecutors found probable cause for violating Commonwealth Act No. 108, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 715 (Anti-dummy Law) against Japanese nationals Hiroyasu Yamaguchi, Chairman of the Board and Treasurer of Sunshine Maritime Development Corp (SMDC); Mototsugu Yamaguchi, Board Member and Vice President of the SMDC; Tomoki Tsubomoto; and Hiromi Irishika;

Also charged were their Filipino partners identified as Clemente Cancio, SMDC President; Dionisio Parulan; Roberto Mena; Gregorio Flores and Angelita Buenaventura.

The SMDC officials were charged before the Manila regional trial court.

SMDC owned M/V Solar 1, which sunk off the island-province of Guimaras island on Aug. 11, 2006, spilling bunker fuel in what became known as one of the worst environmental disasters in Philippine history.

The charges were filed after a DOJ investigation that found almost a 50-50 ratio of Filipino and foreigner representation in the company.

During preliminary investigation, prosecutors found out that SMDC was incorporated on Feb. 22, 2000. It was primarily engaged in coastwise trade, a nationalized industry reserved for Filipino citizens or corporations/associations organized under Philippine laws with at least 60 percent Filipino ownership.

In many official documents, including the SMDC’s articles of incorporation and general information sheet – Mototsugu and Hiroyasu Yamaguchi, both Japanese nationals occupied key positions in the corporation.

Hiroyasu was both the Chairman of the Board of Directors and the Treasurer while Mototsugu was also part of the Board of Directors and the SMDC Vice-president.

It was also discovered during the investigation that the Japanese incorporators largely controlled the company and were intervening in the management, operation, administration and control of the SMDC.

Of the P5.5 million paid up capital of the SMDC, P4 million was the actual share of the Japanese partners. The three SMDC vessels were also owned by three out of the four Japanese shareholders.

Investigation showed that most of the Filipino investors were no longer residing in their given addresses as stated in the SMDC’s files with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The residences of SMDC’s Filipino stakeholders were not located in posh or expensive subdivisions that would create the impression that they were indeed financially capable of investing huge amounts on money in the company.

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