407 Phil. 263
Avions Dassault - Breguet Falcon 50The records show that:
Jet Model - 1982
Manufacturer's Serial No. 082
Cert. of Reg. No. RP-C754
On March 20, 1989, or two (2) years after the lease of the Falcon Falcon jet expired, the PCGG filed with the Sandiganbayan a "Motion For Authority To Sell Sequestered Aircraft Pending Litigation" on the ground that it is fast deteriorating. The Sandiganbayan, in its Resolution dated May 18, 1989, denied PCGG's motion, holding that it found "no justification prima facie or otherwise xxx for the seizure from the lessee." Forthwith, the PCGG filed with this Court a petition for certiorari (G.R. No. 88336) alleging in the main that the Sandiganbayan acted with grave abuse of discretion in denying its motion to sell the aircraft and praying that the Resolution of May 18, 1989 be nullified. On June 6, 1989, this Court issued a temporary restraining order directing the Sandiganbayan to cease and desist from enforcing its assailed May 18, 1989 Resolution. This TRO aimed to "prevent the Sandiganbayan from taking further actions proceeding upon or pursuant to its assumption that the airplane has been unlawfully sequestered and should not be in the custody of the PCGG, since that was the bone of contention to be resolved at that posture of the case."
- The Falcon jet was leased by the United Coconut Chemicals Inc. (Unichem) from Faysound Ltd., a company in the United States;
- The lease over the aircraft lapsed in 1987, at which time the aircraft should have been returned by Unichem to Faysound Ltd., its owner-lessor;
- In Civil Case No. 0033, Cojuangco or any of the defendants has not claimed ownership or interest in the Falcon jet;
- Unichem has not been sequestered. Only the shares of Cojuangco in Unichem were sequestered; and
- But no one, not even the owner, Faysound Ltd., came forward or questioned before the Sandiganbayan the legality of PCGG's sequestration of the aircraft.
'WHEREFORE, the petition at bar is hereby DISMISSED. The PCGG is hereby ordered to deposit the proceeds of the sale of the subject aircraft under a special time deposit with the Philippine National Bank for the account of the Sandiganbayan in escrow for the person or persons, natural or juridical, who may be adjudged lawfully entitled thereto. The Solicitor General is also ordered to submit to this Court, within ten (10) days from notice hereof, certified true copies of the bill of the sale and all other pertinent documents regarding the sale of said aircraft to Walter Fuller Aircraft, Inc."According to petitioner Republic, the Certificate of Time Deposit No. 463109 dated July 28, 1999 shows that as of that date, the amount of US$8,568,905.55 was deposited with the PNB for the account of the Sandiganbayan in trust for the beneficial owner.
"Pursuant to the Memorandum Opinion filed contemporaneously herewith, summary judgment is hereby granted in favor of plaintiff Faysound Limited. On the motion for summary judgment filed by defendant Walter Fuller Aircraft Sales, Inc., the same is hereby denied and judgment on said motion is rendered in favor of plaintiff Faysound Limited.Considering that it was deprived of the aircraft sold to it, Fuller Aircraft sued the Republic and PCGG for breach of warranty with damages (No. CA3-90-2785-R) in the District Court of Texas, Dallas Division. On December 2, 1993, this court rendered against the Republic and PCGG a decision which partly reads:
In conformity with this ruling, title to the Falcon 50, which is the subject of this litigation, is vested in the plaintiff Faysound Limited free and clear of any and all encumbrances save for the costs of any repairs made on said plane by the Falcon Jet Corporation. The claim for storage charged on behalf of Falcon Jet is denied since Faysound bears no responsibility for the presence of the plane at the Falcon Jet facility in Little Rock Arkansas. At any rate, Falcon Jet interpled the plane into the custody of the Court and under these circumstances cannot claim storage for the plane. Storage charges may be claimed by Falcon jet against Faysound Limited beginning with the date of this judgment."
"BE IT REMEMBERED, in accordance with the Court's findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, made on the 21st day of October, 1993, as follows:On October 14, 1996, the PCGG, in order to settle the money judgment against it, entered into an "agreement" with fuller Aircraft providing, among others, that the Republic of the Philippines agreed to pay Fuller $11 million on October 15, 1996 and $3 million, in equal monthly installments, beginning November 15, 1996 and ending October 15, 1997 in settlement of Fuller Aircraft's claim which, per decision of the Texas Court, amounts to $14,928,457.29.
"IT IS ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED, that judgment be and the same is hereby entered in favor of the Plaintiff Walter Fuller Aircraft Sales, Inc. and against the Defendants The Republic of the Philippines and the Presidential Commission on Good Government, jointly and severally, in the amount of Fourteen Million Nine-Hundred Twenty-Eight Thousand Four Hundred Fifty-Seven Dollars and Twenty-Nine Cents ($14,928,457.29). The principal amount of this judgment includes pre-judgment interest at the rate of 10% compounded on the attorney's fees award, for the period from April 9, 1990, through October 27, 1993, as follows:
$9,750,000.00 975,000.00 interest through April 1991 ____________ $10,725,000.00 1,072,500.00 interest through April 1992 _____________ $11,795,000.00 1,179,750.00 interest through April 1993 ____________ $12,977,250.00 718,193.01 interest through October _______________ 27, 1992 at $3,555.41 per day ($1,297.275 divided $13,945,443.01 by 365 days x 202 days)
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that the Defendants, jointly and severally, shall pay post judgment interest at the legal rate of 3.385% per annum pursuant to 18 U.S.C. & 1961 from and after October 28, 1993, until such time as this Judgment is satisfied in full."
"... the plaintiff's Urgent Motion to Withdraw Funds Deposited in Escrow dated October 9, 1996, be deemed withdrawn and the PNB be immediately directed to release the funds on deposit to the Bureau of Treasury for transmission to Walter Fuller Sales, Inc., with the above Agreement and decisions of the US Federal Courts."On September 3, 1999, the Sandiganbayan issued the first questioned Resolution denying petitioner's motion to release the "Falcon Jet escrow account" because: (a) it does not appear from the records that the person lawfully entitled to the escrow deposit has been determined; (b) the motion contravenes the ruling of the Supreme Court in Republic v. Sandiganbayan requiring the PCGG to deposit the proceeds of the sale of the sequestered aircraft with the PNB; and (c) although the records disclose two authenticated copies of foreign judgments, there is no indication that copies of the deed of sale of the aircraft and the compromise agreement have been duly authenticated.
"x x x From the preceding discussion of the cases hereinbefore cited and the contending submissions of the parties in the present recourse, we cannot but make the observation that the decision to sell the aircraft is not within the limited administrative powers of the PCGG but requires the sanction of the Sandiganbayan which can grant or withhold the same in the exercise of sound discretion and on the basis of the evidence before it. Without such approval by the judicial authority concerned, and no abuse of discretion on its part having been established, it is irresistibly follows that any sale of said aircraft under the circumstances obtaining in this case would constitute a prohibited and invalid disposition by the PCGG." (Underscoring supplied.)Moreover, inasmuch as the sale of the aircraft by the PCGG to Fuller Aircraft is void, it follows that the "Agreement" between the PCGG and Fuller Aircraft is likewise a nullity.