Hu! hu! hu! Josie na­tori moves to evict Doris ho

The Philippine Star - - BUSINESS - E-mail: mon­ey­gor­ound.manila@ya­ VIC­TOR C. AGUSTIN

Two lead­ing ladies of the cliquish high so­ci­ety have had a se­ri­ous fall­ing out, with their pri­vate feud be­ing played out in what is sup­posed to be hush-hush lit­i­ga­tion in Cebu and Manila.

Ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments, New York-based fash­ion de­signer Josie Na­tori is seek­ing to eject a con­tainer com­pany of ship­ping heiress Doris Magsaysay-Ho that is oc­cu­py­ing a Cebu sea­side prop­erty.

The two-hectare Cebu prop­erty in Man­daue City was in­her­ited by Na­tori and sib­lings from their father, con­struc­tion mag­nate FF Cruz, who passed away in 2013.

Iron­i­cally, it was Ho that sued first.

Ho’s NMC Con­tainer Lines filed a spe­cific per­for­mance case in the Manila Re­gional Trial Court seek­ing to force the land­lord, FF Cruz and Co., to sell the land to the lessee Ho com­pany, af­ter the FF Cruz heirs re­fused Ho’s pur­chase of­fer. Ac­cord­ing to NMC Con­tainer Lines, the Cruz pa­tri­arch gave an “op­tion to pur­chase and of­fer to sell” when Ho leased for five years the Man­daue prop­erty in 2003.

In any case, NMC Con­tainer Lines opted to ex­tend the Na­tori lease for an­other 10 years, in­stead of pur­chas­ing the prop­erty, when the first con­tract ex­pired in 2008.

But be­fore the sec­ond lease ex­pired in 2018, NMC Con­tainer Lines sued in Manila, claim­ing that it is en­ti­tled to ac­quire the Cebu land at the 2003 price, at P11,000 square me­ter, to be paid on in­stall­ment for five years.

Ho, who is also chair­man of the Asia So­ci­ety Philip­pines, hired Cruz Marcelo Tene­fran­cia to ac­cuse the FF Cruz Ho heirs of “bad faith and in reck­less, wan­ton, op­pres­sive and malev­o­lent vi­o­la­tion of (their) bind­ing con­trac­tual obli­ga­tions” af­ter the Cruz heirs main­tained that what their father in­stead gave Ho was a right of first re­fusal pred­i­cated at best on a con­tract to sell, not a con­tract of sale.

As part of the squeeze tac­tics, Ho’s lawyers also caused the an­no­ta­tion of ad­verse claim on the Cruz prop­erty ti­tle.

“The only rights re­main­ing to FF Cruz is to ac­cept pay­ment of the pur­chase price and to with­hold the is­suance of the ti­tle for reg­is­tra­tion pur­poses in case of the fail­ure of NMC Con­tainer Lines to pay the pur­chase price,” Ho’s coun­sel told the Cruz sib­lings And then the gloves were off. De­spite hav­ing at­tended New York’s Man­hat­tanville Col­lege with Ho when it was still an all-girls’ school run by the Catholic Church, Na­tori then de­cided to drop the beso-beso niceties — no more fash­ion show-fund rais­ing col­lab­o­ra­tions whether in Manila or New York be­tween her and Ho — and di­rected her lawyer, Jose Ber­nas, to file an eject­ment case against the Ho com­pany.

The Cebu case, ac­cus­ing the Ho com­pany of now be­ing a squat­ter, is manda­tory in na­ture. This means that the Ho com­pany may be ejected even while the Manila case is be­ing slogged all the way to the Supreme Court, or un­til hell freezes over.

The Cebu case is be­ing heard by Metropoli­tan Trial Court Judge Yvette Labrador-Soleng; the Manila Re­gional Trial Court case, by Judge Ros­alyn Mis­los-Loja.

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