Theotokos Foundation execs sued

AT LEAST 11 officials, who are mostly religious and lay people, of a charitable institution based in Carcar City, Cebu are facing complaint in court over alleged violation of the organization’s by-laws.

The petitioner also asked the Regional Trial Court to order officials of the Theotokos Foundation Inc. to account for the money they received and disbursed of amounting to at least P7 million since 2002.

Petitioner Venus Perez of Perrelos, Carcar City, Cebu, said the respondents “assumed” as members of the group’s board of trustees without the conduct of elections in the past 10 years since the foundation was established in 2001.

“The acts of respondents in controlling millions of pesos belonging to Theotokos are without authority, and thus must be declared null and void,” read Perez’s civil complaint prepared by her lawyers Allan Frederick Blanco and Fritz Gerald Quinto.

Theotokos is a “non-profit” and non-government organization that provides specialized services to people with mental disabilities and to their families.

Named respondents of the complaint are Rev. Fr. John Rona, Theotokos Foundation president; Msgr. Fred Kriekenbeeek, chairman; Msgr. Esteban Binghay, treasurer; Msgr. Rommel Kintanar, auditor; Sr. Laarni Landrito, secretary; and Sr. Rose Batoon, Sr. Remy Yares, Bro. Julius Daan, Astrid Busa and lawyer Makilito Mahinay, the foundation’s board of directors.

Sought for comment, Binghay told Sun.Star Cebu that they will answer the complaint in a proper forum.

Wala pa man ko ka-receive sa complaint. Pero kung madawat man gane namo, amo dayun nang tubagon sa korte (I haven’t received a copy of the complaint. But as soon as we get copies of the complaint, we will answer it in court),” said Binghay.

Duly elected

Binghay, one of the episcopal vicars of the Archdiocese of Cebu, confirmed that he has been serving as treasurer of the Theotokos Foundation for many years.

In her complaint, Perez said that some members of their organization submitted general information sheet stating that they are “duly elected” members and officers of the board of trustees of Theotokos. Perez has been a member of the foundation since 2001.

This, despite the alleged absence of any election from 2002 until 2016, said Perez.

Since 2005, the group’s board of trustees have been allegedly taking control of the foundation’s financial transactions. They also allegedly declared a “combined liabilities and financial transactions” of the foundation amounting to P7,391,113 in 2014.

When she discovered that respondents were allegedly illegally acting as members of the board of trustees, Perez said that she wrote a letter asking Fr. Rona and Landrito, the foundation’s president and secretary, respectively, to allow her to inspect Theotokos’s books and the minutes of the supposed elections.

But Atty. Mahinay reportedly turned down Perez’s request since the latter was no longer a member of the foundation. Perez asserted that her membership was not terminated.

Perez said the respondents violated the foundation’s by-laws when they assumed as members and officers of Theotokos’ board of trustees without the conduct of any election from 2002 to 2016.

“Therefore, respondents must make an accounting for all of the money that they received and disbursed during the time they appointed themselves as members and officers of the board of trustees,” said Perez in her complaint.

She also said the respondents should reveal all of the bank accounts or investments where they deposited or invested the money of the foundation.

The petitioner also asked the court to order the respondents to pay her P100,000 as temperate damages; P100,000 as exemplary damages and P50,000 as litigation expenses.
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