(SAN RAFAEL, BULACAN) A recent court decision regarding a long-drawn ownership dispute between father and son threatens the very existence of the local mayor’s much-publicized Technology Park.
The 8.8-hectare Pilipinas Development Corporation – Information Technology Park (PDC – IT) in Barangay Tambubong, San Rafael, Bulacan, is touted as the first-ever special economic zone in the province. The economic zone was the brainchild of Ricardo “Carding” Silverio Sr. and his second wife, Mayor Lorna Cillan-Silverio, with the former claiming majority ownership over PDC.
PDC owns and controls the land upon which PDC-IT was built. The couple, with the help of Carding Silverio’s grandson, Mark Silverio-Dee, are active in PDC-IT’s affairs, thoroughly and actively managing its affairs from its conception up to the present, by virtue of their claim of control over PDC.
A recent press release from the Philippine Information Agency stated that several foreign investors have taken interest in doing business in the said area, including business process outsourcing giant Sutherland Global Services and Sharp Philippines Incorporated.
However, court records show (see below) that Tata Carding and Tita Lorna, as locals fondly call them, have been controlling something that they may not have owned in the first place.
PDC Ownership Controversy
PDC, however, is not without complications. Ownership over the company has been bitterly and continuously contested in the courts since the 1980s, with the Mayor-couple on one side and Ricardo “Ricky” Silverio Jr., Carding’s son from his first wife, on another.
According to an article from the Philippine Star, PDC is a family-owned company whose former majority stockholder was the late Beatriz Sison, Carding’s first wife and Ricky’s mother. Leaving no written will at the time of her death in 1987, her assets were left intestate and the financial and legal tug-of-war between father and children has begun.
Moreover, the ownership issue became more complicated a year after Beatriz’s death, when Carding tried to transfer PDC’s ownership to her (then) mistress Lorna Cillan, Carding’s long-time secretary and official wife since their civil union in 1998, as shown by Cillan’s sudden appearance PDC’s SEC records as its majority owner in 1988.
No definite decision has shed light on the matter, and the couple has exercised authority over PDC and its holdings for at least the last ten years, until recently.
(For brevity and clarity, Silverio Sr. will be referred to as “Carding” and Silverio Jr. as “Ricky Jr” from hereon.)
Father versus Son
On January of this year, in a 30-page decision on the case CA-G.R. CV NO. 92816 entitled PDC-Silverio Sr v. Silverio Jr, et Al, the courts have effectively stricken out all of Carding’s claims over PDC and its holdings, which include PDC-IT in San Rafael, Bulacan.
Based on the text of the case, Carding alleged that “Ricky Jr. broke into Atty. [Marcelo] Villanueva and [unlawfully] took the Stock and Transfer Book of PDC”, allegedly enabling Ricky Jr to falsify the documents and make the stocks his own.
Meanwhile, citing the same document, “Ricky denied all imputations… and insisted that his father is not and was never a stockholder of PDC” and that “the funds used in organizing it came exclusively from his deceased mother.”
Ricky added “that the certificates of stock… were delivered to him by the late Atty. Marcelo Villanueva, the former corporate secretary of PDC.”
Tata Carding and Tita Lorna Trespassing?
After hearing both sides, Court of Appeals 9th Division Presiding Associate Justice Romeo Barza upheld the 2008 Makati RTC decision that affirmed Ricky Silverio’s ownership of PDC.
Barza dismissed Carding’s complaint, noting that Carding never had any claim to PDC in the first place.
Barza wrote that Carding “does not have the standing to seek annulment of the endorsement [to Ricky] of the disputed shares,” citing Carding’s admission that he “is not the registered owner of the alleged stolen shares of stock.”
Despite this recent development, the Silverio Couple still insists on developing PDC-IT according to an April 28 press release from the Philippine Information Agency.
As of press time, Ricky has not yet exercised his rights over PDC and its holdings, including San Rafael’s PDC-IT.
According to sources who prefer to speak in anonymity, Ricky is still waiting for a final decision from the Supreme Court, as he expects his father to fight until the end.
This is one of the many protracted legal battles that pit father and son against each other, and with the second wife, Incumbent San Rafael Mayor Lorna Cillan-Silverio, at the side.