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