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by Vic V. Vizcocho, Jr.

FRUSTRATED over delays in the rehabilitation proceedings of the cash-strapped ship builder Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines, also known as HHIC Phil, newly-court-appointed Hanjin Rehabilitation Receiver Stefani C. Saño has filed before the court that appointed him his irrevocable resignation.

“Recent motions filed by parties raised the issues of competence, independence, and conduct against the undersigned rehabilitation receiver. These accusations are bereft of factual and legal basis but the rehabilitation receiver feels that they do not merit refutation,” Saño said in his resignation petition received by the Regional Trial Court Branch 72  yesterday (Wednesday).

He added that “time is of the essence, and the precious time of the Honorable Court cannot be spent in protracted debates and arguments to resolve the issue as to who deserves to be the rehabilitation receiver.”

In a statement received by Subic Bay News, Saño said “By this resignation, I hope that the creditor banks shall have no more issues to oppose and instead focus on the rehabilitation of Hanjin and keeping the jobs for over 3,000 employees.”

He particularly expressed frustration on the move of Metrobank, one of 5 creditor banks that include BDO Unibank, Inc., Bank of the Philippine Islands, Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank),  and Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC), to remove him as Rehabilitation Receiver.

“Just last Tuesday, January 29, I instructed Korea Development Bank (KDB) to transfer to Metrobank USD 45 million, with specific allotments for Metrobank and Hanjin,’ he said, “but on the same day that I gave them USD 45 million, they filed a motion with the Court to remove me as Receiver.”

Large ships under construction at Hanjin. SubicBayNews file photo by Vic V. Vizcocho, Jr.

“The USD 45 million represents full payment for two ships already delivered by Hanjin. On my instruction USD 32 million is to cover the security for the loan granted by Metrobank to Hanjin. Likewise, Hanjin is to use USD 14 million to finish two ships in the shipyard for delivery to the owners and generate further funds to finish four more ships,” he added, “this would keep over 3,000 workers on their jobs, and hopefully generate or revive interest on the part of investors to invest in Hanjin,” Saño explained, “that was part of my strategy to pursue Hanjin’s rehabilitation.”

RTC 72 Judge Richard A. Paradeza is expected to appoint a new receiver soon as the resignation of Saño is irrevocable citing his right to “involuntary servitude enshrined in Section 18 (2), Article III of the Constitution.”

Meanwhile, in a media briefing also on Wednesday, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman & Administrator Wilma T. Eisma expressed surprise at Saño’s resignation.

She said having been SBMA Director on top of being Sr. Deputy Administrator until his recent retirement, Saño would have been easier to work with as Hanjin Rehabilitation Receiver.

SBMA is also a creditor of Hanjin, but Eisma said she is also concerned about the welfare of the displaced and will be displaced employees of the embattled company. She said SBMA has initiated measures to address the impact of Hanjin’s predicament’s on the workers. (with reports from Iya G. Oliva, Aletha D. Candaliza and Angel B. Pamintuan)

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