Dad’s antics rile younger Romero
Michael “Mikee” Romero has seen it all and felt it’s time to put a stop to his father’s business capers. Mikee is trying to dissociate himself from the many failed businesses of father Reghis Romero II, now neck-deep in debt.
The business feud between the father and the son has cracked open—both are now embroiled in an explosive legal tryst that threatens the stability of one of Manila’s premier ports facility, the Manila North Harbor.
The fight, long held back from the public eye by Mikee, who had chosen the legal battleground, has brought out bold allegations from both parties against each other—lavish spending, high living, business mismanagement, theft and even psychological issues that have divided what used to be a tightly-knit family.
Reghis accused his son as the one behind an armed attack on Harbour Centre Port Terminal on December 19, 2014, or a day after a regional trial court in Pasig City ordered the group of the father to return control of the facility to One Source Ports Services, a third party ports service company hired and associated with Mikee’s management.
Months before, Mikee and company were ousted unceremoniously by Reghis loyalists. Allegations of theft and mismanagement, the same issues Mikee are throwing at his father, were used by Reghis men to justify the coup against the younger Romero.
Meanwhile, Reghis, as some business observers believe, is no longer the magnate he is trying his best to project. Mikee, the dutiful and tolerant son, tried to cover his dad’s alleged wayward ways, even using his own resources to salvage his father’s reputation and businesses, including the disputed HCPTI. Reghis is known to business and politics as a flashy, flamboyant kingmaker with a knack for taking in controversial projects that raise eyebrows even to this day.
The failed 1993 Smokey Mountain Reclamation and Development Project is a clear expample. It was a joint venture between R-II Builders Inc. owned by Reghis, and the National Housing Authority. R-II was to finance the development. However, R-II failed to raise the necessary funds. To save the project, the national government stepped in to help raise the needed funding.
Bonds called Smokey Mountain Project Participation Certificates were issued, backed up by the Smokey Mountain Asset Pool. To encourage investors, the state asked Home Guarnaty Corp. to guarantee the payment of interest and principal of regular SMPPCs. On account of R-II Builders’ failure to complete construction, the project failed.
R-II Builders was paid billions for an incomplete project, yet it still questioned the conveyance of the entire asset pool to HGC and filed lawsuits against HGC. On June 22, 2011, the Supreme Court denied with finality R-II Builders’ motions and ruled in favor of HGC.
Reghis is known to wheedle partners to the big promise of a deal and then sues them when he gets the chance. Reghis’s talent for business has become so sophisticated that it is interchangeable with total shrewdness.
Remember Senator Frank Drilon in August 2010 when he argued that Intercontinental Broadcasting Corp., which Malacañang said would be sold, was already the subject of a joint venture agreement—a midnight deal grossly disadvantageous to the government.
Under the agreement, IBC-13 will transfer the ownership of 3.64 hectares to R-II Builders/Primestate, out of the 4.14-hectare property. Drilon said the valuation of the 3.64 hectares was undervalued at only P9,999.99 per square meter, or a total of P364 million, considering that the land was located in a prime location. He added the valuation was not submitted to the Commission on Audit-Technical Services Office for review.
Reghis, meanwhile, turned to his son, blaming him for fund mismanagement, He claimed Mikee bought a private jet—a [Cessna] Citation—a helicopter, 20 to 30 horses, a polo team, and put up a basketball team to promote a business that’s practically a monopoly, at his company’s expense.
Mikee denied the accusations, saying the the plane was for his own mining company in Zamboanga, and that funds for his Philippine Basketball Association team and polo horse came from his own company, Globalport 9000.
Mikee has long been known for his diverse businesses and love for sports. By the end of 2014, and even in the midst of the feud with his father, he was ranked the 26th richest man in Asia. Oddly, Reghis, the father, is nowhere on the list.
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