Filtered By: Money

Kazuo Okada, Tonyboy Cojuangco, others indicted for grave coercion

The Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted Kazuo Okada, Antonio "Tonyboy" Cojuangco, and other personalities for grave coercion over the May 31 takeover of the Okada Manila.

In a 26-page resolution, the DOJ recommended that information for grave coercion under Article 286 of the Revised Penal Code against respondents Kazuo Okada, Antonio O. Cojuangco, Dindo A. Espeleta, and Florentino "Binky" Herrera III be filed in court.

The DOJ, however, did not find sufficient evidence to charge Okada, Cojuangco, Espeleta, Herrera, as well as Maximo Modesto Josel C. Flores, Tetsuya Yokota, Hiroshima Kawamura, Jayson A. Dumaua, Noel B. Afunay, Alvin B. Macatuggal, Gilbert D. Nolasco, Domingo G. Orsal, Bersin S. Jammang, Bennasir A. Sahireul, Oliver M. Tamang, Mark Anthony F. Ramos, Noel B. Bulauan, Mujir A. Sahibul, Mark H. Gabumpa, and Buddiman A. Dawamon for unjust vexation under Article 287, slight physical injuries under Article 266, and direct assault under Article 148, in relation to Article 152 of the RPC.

The complaints are rooted in the enforcement of the Status Quo Ante Order of the Supreme Court dated April 27, 2022, the dispositive portion of which said: "Now, therefore, effective immediately and continuing further orders from this Court, You, petitioner and respondents, your agents and representatives, are hereby required to observe the status quo prevailing prior to petitioner's removal as stockholder, director, chairman, and CEO of the Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment, Inc. (TREI) in 2017."

The DOJ said the actions taken by respondents Cojuangco, Espeleta, and Herrera - arriving at the Okada with a large number of security men - had caused complainants to be greatly intimidated and unable to resist orders from the respondents.

"The overpowering number of security and law enforcers has made complainants' resistance futile. This show of force is equivalent to such intimidation that equates to coercion," the DOJ said.

"Consequently, assuming arguendo that there was no grave coercion when complainants were removed from their corporate offices, coercion was nevertheless consummated the moment the respondents arrived at the entrance of Okada Manila armed with a multitude of men at their beck and call, ready to comply with their orders," it added.

It noted that while Okada had the right to be reinstated, the prompt and expeditious removal by force of the complainants from the premises resulted in coercion.

The DOJ added that the respondents did not have the authority and/or went beyond the clear intent of the SQAO; hence, it was a clear case of grave coercion.

While Okada was not personally present during the takeover of the hotel, the DOJ, however, still found him liable for grave coercion as he had prior knowledge, assent, or imprimatur of the incident.

In a separate statement, TRLEI treasurer and board member Hans Van Der Sande welcomed the development.

"We are grateful that the Department of Justice has started the ball rolling in advancing justice for the victims of the brutal takeover in May. We will continue to work with our lawyers and exhaust all legal means to win this case against the Kazuo Group," Van Der Sande said.

He also said, “We are now working on cleaning the mess that the Kazuo Group left — from stolen funds, fraudulent transactions, and illegally fired employees, to stolen documents and ransacked records — and are now beefing up the business for growth."

"We are hopeful that the intra-corporate dispute will soon be settled with the honorable courts seeing the correctness of our position,” Van Der Sande said.

GMA News had sought comments from Okada, Cojuangco, and the other respondents on the matter, but neither they nor their representatives had responded as of posting time. — DVM, GMA News