Court issues TRO vs president of gold mining firm in Agusan Sur; embattled exec blames ‘takeover plan’ by Australian partner

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ROSARIO, Agusan del Sur (MindaNews / 30 March) — The Filipino president of a gold mining company here has linked the temporary restraining order issued by a court in Davao City preventing him from performing his functions to an alleged move by their Australian partner to take over the company.

In an open letter distributed to over 2,000 company workers on Tuesday, lawyer Raul Villanueva, president of the board of directors of Philsaga Mining Company (PMC), did not name the Australian partner.

But lawyer Glenn Sorilla, PMC  board secretary, told local reporters in a Skype press conference on Tuesday afternoon that Villanueva was alluding to Jeff McGlinn, managing director of Ten Sixty Four (ASX: X64) Limited, who holds 40 percent of PMC shares.

The open letter came a day after the TRO was served by Sheriff Teresita Ceballos from a Davao City court at PMC’s administration building.

Judge Rowena Apao-Adlawan, 1st vice executive judge and presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court in Davao City issued the TRO.
Joseph Mahusay, who was installed by McGlinn to replace Villanueva as president, filed a writ of injunction against Villanueva for continuing to act as PMC president and member of the board of directors even if he already sold to Mahusay his shares of stocks with Philsaga Management and Holdings amounting to 125,000 common shares.
Sorilla said Mahusay is a retired policeman from Quezon City who always served as McGlinn’s security whenever he visited the Philippines.

The injunction case stemmed from an earlier action of X64 lawyer Peter John U. Javier against Villanueva for allegedly violating Sections 12.1 and 14.1 of his employment contract with Medusa Mining Limited, now known as X64.

Javier said Villanueva had been given a notice that his contract was terminated effective February 15.

On the same day the TRO was served, an indigenous peoples group picketed outside the gate of the same building calling for Villanueva’s ouster.

Sorilla said the two events happening in the same place at the same time were “too much of a coincidence.”

In his open letter, Villanueva alleged that when McGlinn visited the company on January 17 this year, he overheard him say “Filipinos are dummies, they will do what we tell them to do.”

“Proof of this is that he has been dictating and shouting at these Filipinos who served him just to get hold of the PMC,” the statement added.

He claimed that “McGlinn has been calling several PMC managers to follow him, not me.”

PMC shareholders voted to replace three Australians and a Filipino working for X64 from the seven-member board during the annual stockholders meeting on March 13.

The vote came a week after the province’s major tribal groups declared PMC’s foreign partners as personae non grata for allegedly failing to meet their contractual obligations.

X64 is accused of defaulting on at least US$4,837,221 representing the operational costs and royalties to the indigenous peoples who own parts of PMC’s gold mines in the province.

“The recent incident of X64 refusing to pay the gold and silver proceeds was a sign that that good faith no longer existed, coupled with a declaration of persona non grata (against X64) by numerous tribal groups with whom the corporation has established very good relationship,” Villanueva said in an interview.

He said the removal of the foreign partners from the board effectively made PMC a 100-percent Filipino corporation.

He also recounted how foreigners were present in the board when he first joined the Philsaga Board in August 2009 as its corporate secretary.

He was informed by the late former president, retired Army colonel Samuel Afdal, that this was done to honor the shareholders of Medusa Mining Limited (X64), who worked hard to raise money and turn Philsaga into a significant mining firm.At least 40 percent of the grandparent firm is owned by X64. (Chris V. Panganiban/MindaNews)