Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Nomads staying put, fighting back

NOMADS Sports Club must have acquired a taste for settling on tracts of land that turn into prime real estate stirring the greedy to try for a grab, not unlike a maniac drooling for coveted flesh.

The 98-year-old non-stock, non-profit group composed of 60 percent Filipino and 40 percent foreigner voting members started out in the Ermita/Malate area in Manila on a spot where the Philippine President Lines Building sits now. The Japanese occupation evicted the club and in 1949, they moved to a rented lot in Makati, a sneeze off where Pasay Road meets EDSA. Yeah, another pricey place that went up for sale and raked profits in the 1960s.

Nomads settled for the suburbs, leasing a 2.5-hectare tract in Merville Park, ParaƱaque from Nersan Corporation in 1969. Over the years that spread of land turned up as, say, a lot like prime beef that had vultures hovering, eager to devour.

After the club was told that a company called Multisphere Trading offered to buy the land in 2007, the pressure began for Nomads to yield. A pesky nuisance case was slapped against the club in 2008, insisting that Nomads membership cards were “unlisted securities.” Extant Nomads president and director Edward Du brought the case before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

As common sense has long ago departed from our neck of the woods, SEC investigators ruled that issuance of a membership card is a form of security— bound to have repercussions for all clubs that issue a membership card after a joining fee is paid for.

Thus, Nomads elevated the issue to the Supreme Court, keeping their fingers crossed that “membership as form of security” would be downright junked as a lapse of common sense.

As it turns out, Du is a cohort of one Kishore Hemlani whose name rings a bell—the same guy closely linked to the former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, pointed to in a privileged speech by Senator Panfilo Lacson and cited by AnakPawis lawmaker Rafael Mariano in a P9.5-billion rotten rice shipment from India.

Hemlani, through his firm—the same Multisphere Trading-- engaged  in food imports and real estate investments has filed a complaint before a ParaƱaque court questioning Nomads’ purchase of the 2.5-hectare land… yes, Nomads has bought what they have developed into hallowed football grounds from the previous owners, Nersan Corp.

Nomads Sports Club now owns the land it has settled on. The club is standing its ground. And fighting back.

In a decision that the club has appealed, a judge ruled in favor of the Hemlani firm overturning the purchase agreement between Multisphere, Nersan and Nomads Sports Club. The judge ruled that the land be reverted to Nersan…

Uh, Nomads and Nersan have executed a valid deed of sale, all legal niceties duly tended to prior to the Hemlani complaint, even before the court ruling.

Thus, Nomads has appealed the ruling.

A protracted legal battle looms. But then again, Nomads are staying put, strengthened by its legacy of providing thousands of children, rich and poor, a hallowed precinct for recreation and field games through the years…

The children need not be robbed of such grounds by greedy dark souls merely out to turn up, rake in profits…

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