Uniwide Coastal Mall is in the news these days because of the launch by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority of the controversial Southwest Integrated Bus Terminal in a portion of the uncompleted shopping center. It seems, however, that the strategically located mall is embroiled in a bigger legal controversy.
Uniwide Coastal Mall is in the center of a court battle between Uniwide Group of businessman Jimmy Gow and his estranged business partner Jacinto “Jack” Ng Sr. of Rebisco Corp.
At one time, the Uniwide Group was rivalling the giant Shoemart for the distinction of being the biggest shopping empire in the Philippines. The Uniwide Coastal Mall was supposed to be the crown jewel of the Uniwide “empire”.
Ng, through the Manila Bay Development Corporation, owns 40 hectares of reclamation property along Roxas Boulevard and he convinced his erstwhile friend Gow to lease 20 hectares of the property to build Uniwide Coastal Mall which Ng said would be the center of a Greenhills-type development.
Construction of the mall was already more than 90% complete and in fact it was already partially operational with tenants already occupying the finished parts of the mall fronting Roxas Boulevard when the 1997 Asian economic meltdown happened and buried the Uniwide Group in financial turmoil.
Compounding the problem of the Uniwide Group in the almost-completed Uniwide Coastal Mall was the move by Ng to file an eviction case against the Uniwide Group.
Ng’s MBDC raised the eviction issue before the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center which dismissed the petition for arbitration in February 2010.
Rebuffed by the PDRC, MBDC then went to the Parañaque Municipal Trial Court which ordered Uniwide to vacate the leased premises and turn it over MBDC.
The Uniwide Group protested the ruling and questioned the jurisdiction of the Municipal Trial Court which they said has jurisdiction over case involving amounts of P500, 000 and below.
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