DOJ review sought over estafa case vs Sycip son, tuna execs

Published August 15, 2018, 3:22 PM

by Patrick Garcia


By Jeffrey Damicog

A Manila City prosecutor has asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to review the multi-million estafa case against the son of late tycoon Washington Sycip and other executives of a tuna processing business for allegedly duping investors to invest into their company


Manila City Prosecutor Edward Togonon informed the DOJ that he could not yet comply with its March 27 resolution directing the filing of the estafa case before the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC).

“Please be advised that, anent your directive for the filing of the Information for Estafa against Jonathan Y. Dee, et al., this office encounters difficulty in complying therewith since we cannot find any act constituting the said offense or any single element thereof that might have happened or occurred in the City of Manila,” read Togonon’s letter to then Justice Undersecretary Deo Marco who penned the resolution.

Those supposed to be charged with estafa are executives of Alliance Select Foods International, Inc., namely, Sycip’s son, George Sycip; Jonathan Dee; Alvin Dee; Joanna Dee-Laurel; Teresita Ladangan; Grace Dogillo; and Arak Ratborihan.

“It appears that the only piece of complainant’s evidence that may place the case within the territorial jurisdiction of Manila is the Fish Supply Agreement as it was allegedly notarized here,” he noted.

The prosecutor added that considering “the bulk of the transactions between the complainants and the respondents transpired in the cities of Pasig and Makati, the offense of estafa appears to have been probable and necessarily committed, therefore, in either of the said cities, and not here in Manila.

In the March 27 resolution, the DOJ dismissed the complaints against the respondents who have been accused of falsification of public documents and syndicated estafa.

“The dismissal of the charge for falsification of public documents under Article 171(1) in relation to 171(2), of the Revised Penal Code is hereby affirmed. The dismissal of the charge for syndicated estafa is affirmed,” read the resolution.

On the other hand, the resolution ordered the filing of a simple estafa case against the respondents.

The case stemmed from the complaint filed by Victory Fund Limited, Harvest All Investment Limited, and Bondeast Private Limited.

The DOJ resolution pointed that “Alliance was formed out of an Amended Rehabilitation Plan which was approved by the Court, with the concurrent purpose of paying-off the creditors of the First Dominion Group of Companies or the ‘Dee Companies’.”

Because of this, the DOJ stressed that “had not for the false pretense in painting a ‘rosy picture’ of Alliance, employed by Respondents Dee and George that their corporation has a lucrative business in the Philippines, as one of the tuna capitals of the world, has business enterprise in other countries and poised to further expanded globally, they would not have parted their money.”

“Moreover, had complainants known Alliance was formed to ‘bail out’ the Dee Companies, they would not have invested their money,” it added.

Records show that the complainants invested to Alliance in 2009 the amounts of P75.25 million,US$65,555.93, P170,000 and P4,982,947.94.

In 2010, investors were made to part with P156,688,885, US$1,191,731.70, US$1,544,068.68.

Then, in 2012, more investments were made at the amount of P500,000.