Friday, August 01, 2008

Court of Appeals Controversy part 6: Francis Roa de Borja identifies himself as the mystery man, claims Sabio asked PHP 50 M

The Inquirer reports that a certain Francis Roa de Borja identified himself as the Makati businessman who was brokering for Meralco that Justice Sabio mentioned in his controversial letter to the CA Presiding Justice. Mr. de Borja in his sworn affidavit claims that Justice Sabio asked for PHP 50 M and Justice Sabio wanted a seat in the Supreme Court. The text of the affidavit is below the commentary.


Seven questions for the mystery man.

1. Justice Sabio said in his letter that the mystery man was brokering for MERALCO. By claiming that he is the mystery man, is Mr. de Borja also claiming that he was brokering for MERALCO?

2. Is the MERALCO case a matter for brokers to meddle with?

3. Did Mr. De Borja convey the PHP 50 Million price to the owners of MERALCO?

4. If so, did the owners of MERALCO believe him?

5. Is the PHP 10 Million to inhibit the counter-offer?

6. Is the action of the lawyers of MERALCO in filing a Motion for Justice Reyes to assume the Chairmanship the rejection of the offer?

7. Does Mr. Francis Roa de Borja also admit that he pestered Justice Sabio and even asked a relative of Justice Sabio from Cagayan de Oro to convince Justice Sabio to accept the PHP 10 Million and inhibit?

More questions than answers.


The full text of the Affidavit follows:



I, FRANCIS ROA DE BORJA, Filipino, of legal age, with address at 343 G. de Borja St., Pateros, Metro Manila, after having been duly sworn in accordance with law, hereby depose and state:


1. At the 2008 annual stockholders meeting of Meralco a controversy arose regarding an SEC order to nullify the proxies which had been issued in favor of the Meralco management. I subsequently found out from the news that Justice Jose Sabio, Jr. was one of the justices who was hearing the case filed by Meralco against the GSIS and SEC (the “Meralco/GSIS/SEC case”).

2. This development struck a chord in me since I knew Justice Sabio quite well from my previous dealings in the early 1990’s with a group he had been advising in Cagayan de Oro City on a real estate transaction that I was putting together.

3. I am a businessman. Among other activities, I have been engaged in the past in the sale and purchase of real properties, manufacturing companies, brokering contracts, and in general, deal making and project packaging from which I would stand to gain a fee for my efforts.


4. My mother is a Roa. By virtue of this, I am related to the extended Roa clan whose roots are in Cagayan de Oro City.

5. One of the branches of the Roa family, the branch originating from the late Congressman Pedro “Oloy” Roa, was the previous owner of a 400 hectare property in Cagayan de Oro City located very near the city airport (the “CDO Property”).

6. Sometime in 1993, when the Pedro Roa family still owned the CDO Property, I learned of their intention to sell it. I contacted a family member to say that I could get a developer to buy it.

7. I talked to the Investment and Capital Corporation of the Philippines (ICCP) which had developed the highly successful Science Park in Laguna. ICCP forthwith expressed interest in buying the said property for development into a residential subdivision.
8. In the course of the negotiations between ICCP and the Pedro Roa family, the latter were advised on legal issues by Judge Jose Sabio Jr. who was then a Regional Trial Court Judge in Cagayan de Oro City.

9. The negotiations were protracted and took a year or so to complete. Judge Sabio and I came to know each other quite well during this time and became friends.

10. The sale of the Cagayan de Oro Property was successfully completed and the same was subsequently developed into the Pueblo de Oro Subdivision.

11. After I received my fee for the transaction, I gave Three Hundred Thousand Pesos (P300,000) to Judge Sabio in appreciation of the efforts he had undertaken towards the successful completion of the transaction. This gesture was also a way of expressing to him that I had come to value the friendship we had developed.

12. Afterwards, Judge Sabio and I continued to communicate with each other, albeit infrequently.

12.1. When Judge Sabio would come over to Manila from Cagayan de Oro City, he would call me up and we would have lunch or dinner together.

12.2. Subsequently, when Judge Sabio was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 1999 and transferred residence to Manila, he and I would meet on occasion and have lunch or dinner perhaps two or three times a year.


13. On or about May 31, 2008 and acting on my own, I called up Justice Sabio to chitchat on the Meralco/GSIS/SEC case because it was hogging the headlines, and to hear what was happening, so to speak, directly from the horse’s mouth.

13.1. During the telephone conversation, I commented to Justice Sabio to the effect that “Grabe siguro ang pressure sa iyo dito!”

13.2 In reply, Justice Sabio said “Ay Francis, you have no idea of the pressures I am undergoing from the government.”

13.3. I replied that I could well imagine his situation and after a few more words said goodbye and wished him good luck.

14. In late June, I called Justice Sabio again and suggested we get together to touch base. In response, he invited me to see him at the Ateneo Law School in Rockwell after his classes.

15. In the evening of Tuesday, July 1, 2008, I went to Ateneo Law School to see Justice Sabio. I invited him to have dinner at the nearby Rockwell Mall. However, he told me that he could meet with me only for a while since his wife would be fetching him and would be waiting in their car. Thus, we just talked at the lobby lounge.

15.1. During our conversation, we talked about the Meralco, GSIS, SEC controversy.

15.1.1 Justice Sabio confided that he was the Acting Chairman of the Division hearing the case but that he was very piqued with the regular Chairman of the Division, Justice Bienvenido Reyes, who was exercising efforts to reclaim his seat.

15.1.2. Justice Sabio mentioned the following reasons why he thought he should remain the Acting Chairman of the Division hearing the Meralco/GSIS/SEC case: He had signed the temporary restraining order issued in the case. He said “hindi bale sana kung hindi ako ang pumirma.” In the last few weeks, he had conversed several times with the said regular Chairman of the Division, Justice Bienvenido Reyes, but he groused that “walang sinasabi sa akin yun pala gusto niyang bumalik. Why did he not say anything to me? Parang trinaidor ako.” Justice Sabio added that he was very suspicious of Justice Reyes’s motives. “Why does he want to come back? Siguro meron silang gustong gawin dito.” He mentioned that “Justice Cruz” who had issued a ruling on the matter to the effect that he (Justice Sabio) should give way to Justice Reyes was even “junior” in rank to him. He commented “Insulto sa akin yan.” He said that he had consulted other colleagues in the Court of Appeals and that they had told him that he was in the right and should stick to his guns. He said he had two children who are both lawyers and he had discussed this matter with them and they had likewise advised him not to give way. He vowed that he would hold on as Acting Chairman of the Division for the case even if he had to elevate the matter to the Supreme Court.

16. Justice Sabio then told me about the blandishments coming from the government side. He said that he was being offered a promotion to the Supreme Court and money to favor the GSIS position.

17. I was nonplussed by this last statement since Justice Sabio had just expressed suspicion about the motives of Justice Reyes and other Division members in their wanting Justice Reyes to resume the chairmanship of the Division. He, in effect, had just given me his motive for wanting to remain as Acting Chair of the Division.

18. I concluded that this was probably the reason why he was hanging on so desperately to the Acting Chairmanship of the Division. If he would give up the said Acting Chairmanship, he would lose his chance for a Supreme Court seat and the promise of monetary consideration.

19. I had been appalled from the beginning by the way GSIS and the government were going after Meralco. I told Justice Sabio that it was obvious that the government was doing this in retaliation for the news coverage by ABS-CBN of the Administration. I then asked him “what would it take for you to resist the government’s offer?”

20. The response of Justice Sabio was “Fifty Million.”

21. I was so taken aback by the answer of Justice Sabio and the huge amount he had mentioned that I was at a loss for words to say. After regaining my composure, we made our goodbyes as his wife was already waiting for him in their car.




sam_d said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
marvin said...


you're a troll. you're banned

sam_d said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
law_stud2008 said...

i am a law student who had been diligently following this controversy. what is the latest update to this case?

can you also let us know of any movements supporting justice sabio? i believe that it is a duty of members of the legal profession to support those who are seeking to keep intact the integrity of our legal system. thanks!