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Megaworld slaps DATEM with multi-billion damages

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By Marinel Peroy

After the accusation of unpaid P873 million claim of DATEM arising from the unfinished projects assigned to them, plus Quezon City’s court order under the writ of preliminary attachment to freeze the five properties and the banks of Megaworld Corporation, it seems enough is enough for real estate mogul Dr. Andrew L. Tan.

The move of DATEM to ask the court to freeze Megaworld’s assets apparently was the tipping point for the country’s real estate giant to file multi-billion pesos damages. Megaworld will be represented by the Philippines’ illustrious and biggest law firm, ACCRALAW.

In the document obtained by THEPHILBIZNEWS, Megaworld said that the withholding of payment for DATEM was not arbitrary but had a legal basis under the General Condition of Megaworld Corporation duly signed by DATEM. (See photo below)

Meanwhile, one contractor that THEPHILBIZNEWS spoke to said that they did not have any problem with accounts receivable and felt that the legal case filed by DATEM was not necessary.

Rene G. Simbulan of Simbulan Group of Companies, concurrent chairman of the international affairs of the PCCI and long-time Megaworld contractor said, “We don’t have a beef with Megaworld. Yes, all of the construction firm and even the real estate industry in the Philippines was hit by the pandemic. In my humble opinion, issues like this should have been settled amicably. I mean, there is no need to use media to get a settlement from the other party, especially if you know that it would be damaging for the other one. We are all doing business together, and we should value of relationship with our partners. If there are disputes, media is not the right venue to settle this.”

Meanwhile, Jess Varela, director general of the International Chamber of Commerce-Philippines told to THEPHILBIZNEWS that the demand to freeze the assets of Megaworld was not only overkill but also ridiculous.

“Assuming that Megaworld owes DATEM ₱873.3 million, I am certain that Megaworld has its reason why the payment is being withheld. They have a mutually agreed contract that both signed with all the terms and conditions. However, the move to freeze the assets of Megaworld for a meager 0.2% of what they owe to DATEM is unjustified and excessive. And if all the courts will make that kind of ruling from time to time, it will have a chilling effect on the investors both local and foreign investors,” Varela said.

When asked what is his take on the billion damages Megaworld sought from DATEM, Varela said, “I will do the same. Megaworld is a publicly listed company. What DATEM should have done is to meet with Megaworld and express their concern on their pending payment. There should be a middle ground and not a legal tactic and put a spotlight under the court of public opinion on its business partner who gave them opportunities to work with them on several projects. I hope they are talking now and settle the issue once and for all.”

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