By Janina C. Lim
HARDLY had moves to rescue debt-saddled Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines, Inc. (HHIC-Phil) begun than the rehabilitation receiver resigned last week, citing creditors’ opposition to his appointment.
Hanjin Rehabilitation Receiver Stefani C. Saño filed on Wednesday his letter of irrevocable resignation with Branch 72 of the Regional Trial Court in Olongapo City.
“By this resignation, I hope that the creditor banks shall have no more issues to oppose and instead focus on the rehabilitation of Hanjin and keeping the jobs for over 3,000 employees,” Mr. Saño said in a press statement sent by e-mail.
“Magulo sila eh. Tinutulungan ko na gusto pa ako ipatanggal… (They have so many issues; I am helping them and yet they want me out…)” he said in a telephone interview last Thursday.
In his letter, Mr. Saño noted that “recent motions filed by parties raised the issues of competence, independence and conduct against” him, adding that “these accusations are bereft of factual and legal basis, but… do not merit refutation.”
“Interactions by the rehabilitation receiver with the [rehabilitation] petitioner [HHIC-Phil] and creditor banks show that they [banks] have a deep mistrust upon his person rendering ineffectual the performance of his duties, powers and responsibilities under the law.”
Sought on Sunday for more details, Mr. Saño said via Viber message that “only Metrobank (Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co.) filed to remove me.”
The court, the letter read further, should now direct HHIC-Phil and its creditors “to submit the names of their nominees to the position” of rehabilitation receiver.
“A timely, fair, transparent and efficient rehabilitation is of paramount importance to the HHIC-Phil, Inc. being a critical heavy industry affecting the welfare of the [over 3,000] workers and their families, the enormous debts to creditors and other stakeholders,” the letter read.
“Time is of the essence and the precious time of the Honorable Court cannot be spent on protracted debates and arguments to resolve the issue as to who should be the rehabilitation receiver. It will only overshadow the primary goal.”
Mr. Saño said in his statement that he had begun steps to help the troubled shipbuilder, asking Korea Development Bank last Jan. 29 “to transfer to Metrobank $45 million,” of which $32 million was “to cover the security for the loan granted by Metrobank to Hanjin” and the balance “to finish two ships in the shipyard for delivery to the owners and generate further funds to finish four more ships.”
Mr. Saño had noted last Jan. 18 that HHIC-Phil’s declared assets of about $1.5 billion compare to up to $412 million it still owed to Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. ($145 million); Land Bank of the Philippines (reported at $85 million); Metrobank ($70 million); BDO Unibank, Inc. ($60 million) and the Bank of the Philippine Islands ($52 million).
By Janina C. Lim