Issue of November 18, 2012
Mt. Province

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Family dispute of BCU shares leads to suspension of classes
by Rimaliza Opiña

A family dispute on how shares should be divided among shareholders and heirs of the original incorporators of the Baguio Central University resulted in a one-day suspension of classes Tuesday last week.

Classes resumed the following day but security was beefed up due to a “tense” atmosphere in the campus, according to lawyer Maita Andres, counsel for BCU president Margarita Rillera.

On Tuesday, the heirs of three of the original incorporators of Joven Incorporated, now BCU, went to the media with the hope that Rillera would meet and talk to them about the management of the school and the distribution of shares.

The heirs of Pio, Salvacion, and Cirilo Joven said as successors, they are also entitled to shares and have a say in running the affairs of BCU, including other allied businesses that shut down such as the Sto. Niño Hospital, and the university’s College of Medicine.

The heirs recently filed a petition at the regional trial court for an accounting of shares of stocks. The court dismissed the petition on ground that the petitioners do not have the personality to institute a cause of action against stockholders of BCU. The petition is on appeal at the Court of Appeals.

Dr. Nona Carnacete, one of the petitioners said they are reiterating for a dialogue, so as to prevent the issue from affecting the operations of one of Baguio’s oldest universities.

Andres said agreeing to the proposal of the heirs is a choice that could not be forced on her client. She refuted the heirs’ claim of a peaceful resolution of the issue.

She said Rillera was forced to suspend the classes as some of the heirs forced their way inside the university to compel her to meet them. She said other civilians identified as a member of the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army was with the group, which, in her client’s view, was meant to threaten her to give in to their call for a dialogue.

She also refuted claims there was no proper turn-over of successors. Andres said there is now a new board with Rillera remaining the majority shareholder.

She added the original incorporators have been properly paid and there are documents showing former BCU president Margarita Fernandez, grandmother of the current president, possesses transfer documents.

Andres said the heirs who are claiming their shares are not direct descendants of the original incorporators. “They were never left out because they were never involved. Malayong kamag-anak na sila.”

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