Businessman Antonio Tiu wants the senators as well as former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado to make a public apology for trying to make it appear that Vice President Jejomar Binay owns his 350-hectare property in Rosario, Batangas, reports GMA News.
Tiu was not content with demanding a public apology from Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, however, choosing instead to file charges against the senator for defamation. According to Tiu, Trillanes repeatedly tried to make it appear that Binay merely uses him as a dummy or front as ‘owner’ of the property.
Dubbed as ‘Hacienda Binay’, the property was first revealed by Mercado before the senate panel investigating the alleged overpricing of the Makati parking building. However, it was Trillanes who kept repeating to the media that Binay owns the property while Tiu is merely a dummy.
Tiu said the baseless accusations made by Trillanes harmed his businesses, causing shares to dip. Aside from the business aspect, the accusations also had a personal effect on him, causing “”sleepless nights, wounded feelings, mental anguish, and public ridicule”.
Gabriel Paolo de Guzman, one of Tiu’s lawyers, said the businessman decided to file the P4 million defamatory case against Trillanes for the senator’s defamatory statements to the media. The lawyer, however, refused to elaborate on the matter, saying he was not Tiu’s official spokesman.
Aside from the P4 million in moral damages, Tiu’s camp also wants the senator to pay lawyer fees pegged at P500,000 each plus compensation for exemplary damages.
No ownership documents
Despite Tiu’s claim that the Rosario estate is owned by his company, he failed to present legal documents as proof of ownership, reports a previous Kicker Daily article.
He said he will eventually become the owner of the estate and has already issued post-dated checks covering the entire amount [P446 million] but has only paid P11 million to date. Thus, he still does not have full ownership of the property but was already granted usufruct rights or the right to use the land.