ALLIANCE Select Foods International, Inc. said the warrants of arrest against its incumbent officials have been recalled, after a Pasig court upheld that these violated their right to due process.
In a court ruling penned Nov. 20, Branch 70 of the Pasig City Metropolitan Trial Court ordered that the warrants of arrest dated July 11 be quashed or recalled against Alliance Select President and Chief Executive Officer Raymond K.H. See, Chairman Antonio C. Pacis, and former company officials George Sycip and Jonathan Y. Dee.
The court said the warrants were issued prematurely and in denial of the defendants’ right to a full preliminary investigation by the Department of Justice (DoJ) in determining probable cause.
The warrants of arrest were issued in relation to inspection charges filed by Singaporean shareholder Hedy S.C. Yap-Chua, who requested for an inspection of the company’s books and records.
Ms. Yap-Chua questioned Strong Oak, Inc.’s P563-million private placement in Alliance Select back in 2014, which effectively diluted Singaporeans’ holdings to 24.52% from 34.4%.
She then said that the company’s refusal to open up their books constitutes a violation of Sections 74 and 75 in relation to Section 144 of the Corporation Code.
Section 74 of the Corporation Code states that “every corporation shall keep and carefully preserve at its principal office a record of all business transactions…,” while Section 75 details the rights of any stockholder or member of the company to be granted access to records such as their latest financial statement.
Alongside the recall of the warrants, the Pasig Court also ruled that the cases against Alliance Select officials be returned to the DoJ through its state prosecutors, so that it may complete the preliminary investigation and resolve pending motions for reconsideration.
“The DoJ through the state prosecutors concerned is hereby directed to make a report of its proceedings not later than the expiration of the period here allotted and to inform the court within a period of five days from notice as to the time and date when it received this order,” according to the ruling.
In a statement, Mr. See said that he is happy with the court’s decision “because the rule of law has been upheld.”
Alliance Select is a homegrown firm that engages in tuna processing, canning, and the export of canned tuna products to international markets such as Europe, North America, Asia, Africa, South America, and the Middle East.
The company booked a net income attributable to the parent of $3.23 million in the first nine months of 2018, 680% higher than the $414.33 million it posted in the same period a year ago. This followed a 39% increase in gross revenues to $74.15 million.
Shares in Alliance Select were flat at P1.02 each at the stock exchange on Thursday. — Arra B. Francia