THE CAMP of Dr. Alfredo R.A. Bengzon said they are confident the ongoing ownership dispute at The Medical City (TMC) will be resolved soon, for the sake of the hospital and its shareholders.
“We remain confident that this issue will come to rightful resolution soon and that, in the end, justice will prevail, and the genuine interests of The Medical City and its shareholders will be upheld,” according to an e-mailed statement by Mr. Bengzon’s representatives over the weekend.
The statement came after the Securities and Exchange Commission’s creation of a special hearing panel to investigate the ownership issues hounding the hospital.
Mr. Bengzon was recently removed from his post as TMC’s chief executive officer after his nephew and TMC Treasurer Jose Xavier B. Gonzales convened a special stockholders’ meeting last Sept. 13, which elected TMC medical director Eugenio Ramos as the new president and CEO. Mr. Gonzales was then named as the hospital’s new chairman.
Mr. Gonzales’ party also secured a court order affirming their election as TMC’s new officials.
The feud started when Mr. Bengzon filed a complaint with the SEC asking for intervention and the indefinite postponement of the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting, claiming that Mr. Gonzales and a group of foreign investors he brought into the company in 2013 were planning a hostile takeover.
The foreign investors included Singapore-based Clermont Group, Viva Holdings (Philippines) Pte. Ltd., Viva Healthcare Ltd., and Fountel Corp.
The group was then able to secure a 54% ownership in TMC through a corporate and shareholders agreement (CSA).
Mr. Bengzon noted that he was unaware of the CSA with the Clermont group, adding that it should be voided since the transaction was not publicly disclosed.
“We believe that the onerous Cooperation and Shareholder Agreement (CSA) that firmly binds them together, and the accompanying Loan Agreement with its most egregious terms — as well as their other actions leading to these unfortunate circumstances — fail the test of legitimacy, transparency and fairness,” as per Mr. Bengzon’s statement.
Mr. Bengzon also said that they will pursue all legal options to ensure that they can protect the rights and interests of TMC’s shareholders.
“The benefits should go to them, and not to a foreign business interest and its partners who appear to have used questionable, even illegal, methods to wrest control of The Medical City. It is to these shareholders whose rights have been jeopardized that we owe the obligation to pursue this fight,” he said. — Arra B. Francia