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Prosecutor indicts Yanson 4’s lawyer; court’s jurisdiction usurped – Narvasa

The Office of the City Prosecutor of Makati (OCP Makati) has indicted the assistant corporate secretary of the Vallacar Transit Inc. (VTI) faction of the Yanson 4 for “falsification of public documents and perjury”.

Makati Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Joel Vedan in his resolution approved by Deputy City Prosecutor Christopher Garvida recommended bail for Anna Isabella Galvez at P36,000 for falsification and P18,000 for perjury.

The resolution stemmed from a complaint filed by Olivia Yanson and Leo Rey Yanson against Galvez alleging that as “purported” VTI assistant corporate secretary she falsified declarations in the General Information Sheet of VTI for 2020.

Lawyer Carlo Joaquin Narvasa said Galvez is part of the law firm Fortun, Narvasa & Salazar that represents the four Yanson siblings – Roy, Emily Ricardo and Celina in their family intra-corporate dispute.

In its resolution on September 20 the OCP Makati found probable cause against Galvez for one count of falsification and one count of perjury in relation to the 2020 General Information Sheet of VTI despite is recognition of the existence and pendency of an intra-corporate dispute over the control of VTI, pending before the Regional Trial Court of Bacolod City, Narvasa said.

Under Republic Act No. 8799, it is the appropriate Regional Trial Courts that have jurisdiction to resolve intra-corporate disputes, and its existence directs the suspension of the preliminary investigation proceedings against an accused until proceedings on the intra-corporate issues are completed with finality, he said.

In fact in Mathay, et al., vs. People (G.R. No. 218964, June 30, 2020), a case recently decided by the Supreme Court, it ruled that before any court can delve into the question of whether there is probable cause to charge anyone with an offense, the threshold legal issue that needs to be addressed first is whether there is a prejudicial question that justifies suspension of criminal proceedings against a person indicted for a crime, he said.

The SC in the Mathay case ruled that a prejudicial question exists in a criminal case for falsification of public documents when two pending civil cases involving ownership over the shares of a corporation would determine whether the statements made in the GIS are true or absolutely false, he added.

“This is precisely the same question and issue in the case against Atty. Galvez. The OCP Makati did not heed the pronouncements of the High Court and failed to apply its ruling to the case against Atty. Galvez despite its own confirmation that an intra-corporate dispute exists among the warring shareholders of VTI. Of course, those benefitted by the indictment of Atty. Galvez wisely suppressed important information that will render the OCP Makati’s resolutions void if not premature,” he added.

The complainants said that Galvez had made “untruthful statements” in the 2020 GIS of VTI when she “fraudulently made it appear” that Emily Yanson is a stockholder and member of the board of directors of VTI; Olivia Yanson, Anita Chua, Arvin John Villaruel and Daniel Nicolas Golez are no longer stockholders of VTI; Olivia Yanson in no longer a member of the board of directors;

Leo Rey Yanson only has 400,360 shares in VITI, Ginnette Yanson Dumancas only has 400,260 shares; Emily, Celina, Roy and Ricardo are members of the board of directors and officers of the corporation; Celina is the president of VTI; Carlo Joaquin Narvasa is the VP for Legal of VTI; and Galvez is the assistant corporate secretay of VTI.

Vedan, in his resolution, said after careful evaluation of the pieces of evidence adduced by both parties, he found probable cause to indict Galvez for falsification of public documents and perjury.

Norman Golez, lawyer of Olivia and Leo Rey Yanson, said the falsification and perjury case was filed before the Metropolitan Trial Court of Makati.

“Galvez filed a motion to defer proceedings and to hold in abeyance the issuance of the warrant of arrest. The court directed us to file a comment within 10 days counted from yesterday (October 20),” he said.*

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