Bohol Fake Developer Linked to P50-M Land Scandal
By LIGALIG MIKE ORTEGA
Several Japanese investors had fallen casualties to an allegedly well-designed house-and-lot scam – and victims have told the court they had lost at least P50 million to what the complainants had accused as a fake developer in Panglao, the handiwork of which is somewhat similar to the 2013 infamous modus operandi of a dubious individual identified as Benajamin Manuel Aggenstein.
Spain-born Aggenstein, who claimed to be Germany’s honorary consul to Sierra Leone but was declared “persona non grata” by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Bohol, was eventually shot dead in November 2013, but not after he milked out several foreign nationals and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) of millions of pesos on the promise of owning a luxurious house and lot in Panglao, Bohol.
Based on Bohol Tribune’s research, the latest land scam in this ultra-highly-priced Panglao has a duplication of Aggenstein’s machinations.
Philippine laws have explicitly declared that foreign nationals cannot own a piece of land in the country, but misinformed foreign nationals are often told otherwise by rascals in the real estate industry.
Accused as behind the alleged scam is a company known as AYACCA Realty and Development Inc. who had promised foreign investors, particularly Japanese nationals, of owning a piece of paradise in the island town of Panglao, in a form of luxurious houses.
In court records obtained by Sun-Star Cebu, the paper reported that six Japanese nationals have filed separate criminal cases in a court in Cebu against fellow Japanese citizens who allegedly stood as pillars of the corporation, which was also ran by Filipino nationals sitting as partners and corporate officers.
Named respondents in what appeared to be another case of a well-planned real estate fraud in Bohol are Toshihiro Handa, the alleged head and founder of Ayacca, Tomoaki Ichikawa, Musashi Nagashima, Ai Otsuka, Tomoya Tanaka, Ryugo Watanabe, Yutaka Nakamura, Asahiko Yara and Ai Takasaki.
Also named respondents to the court complaint are Reno Banawa, alleged president, Maricel Ichikawa, Sophia Yara, Lilani Sinahon, Rosemarie de la Peña, Nicanor Cuyos, Felix Quimbo II, Maria Lourdes Alberto, Fritizie Palencia, Gerald Vizcarra, Reynaldo Agudo, Felino Cortes and Cherry Rivera.
Lawyer Danilo Pilapil, who represents the complainants, told Sun-Star Cebu that the both the Japanese and Filipino respondents are facing cases in relation to syndicated estafa or violation of PD 1689; violation of Subdivision and Condominium Buyers Protective Decree, or PD 957; violation of Anti-money laundering Act, or Presidential Decree (PD) 9160; and violation of Anti-Dummy Law, or PD 108.
The complainants told the court they were duped of some P50 million investment, which was contained in a glittering promise that they would own a multi-million-peso house and lot in Panglao, Bohol.
“No such detached houses were built in the name of Ayacca Realty and Development Inc. and Japanese citizens (cannot own land in the Philippines) as Philippine laws allow only Filipino citizens to own lands,” according to a sworn statement executed by Mamoru Shioya, a Japanese national who had said he lost P5.326 million to the alleged fake developer.
THE COMPANY ACCORDING TO ITS WEBSITE
On October 7, 2015, Ayacca company, which had claimed of holding an office at Unit 304 Cebu Holdings Center, Cardinal Rosales Avenue, Cebu Business Park, Hipodromo, Mabolo in Cebu City, reportedly held a ground-breaking ceremony for its project in Panglao, Bohol.
The company also claimed that it has a business partner in Germany identified as Unity Investment Holding Limited, with has an alleged office address at Messeturm, 25th floor Friedrich-Ebert-Anlage 49 60308 Frankfurt, and whose website can be accessed at www.unityinvestment.com/index.html
The Bohol Tribune had tried to access the Unity Investment website, but the security features of the Bohol Tribune’s intricate web connection sent a warning to the editors saying the said website may have been “compromised.”
But the company’s local website, identified as www.ayacca.com/en, appeared to be safe to browse, according to Panda Anti-virus Company.
The website claimed that “AYACCA Marine Resort’s Ground Breaking Ceremony was held at Panglao, Bohol. The ceremony was honored by the presence of Honorable Leonila P. Montero, mayor of Panglao, Honorable Pedro Fuertes, vice mayor of Panglao and the entire team of Ayacca Realty & Development, Inc.”
The company said it planned to build the so-called “Bohol AYACCA Resort.”
“We are planning to construct a luxury condominium type hotel with 150 meters of white sand beach in Bohol island, one of the world’s leading beach resorts. With this new form of single detached condominiums, foreigners are allowed to purchase a detached house and lot. Experience the spectacle of your own white sandy beach that is only a few steps away from your doorstep,” according to the company’s website.
Another development project envisioned by Ayacca company is the so-called “AYACCA Mall in Bohol.”
“This is scheduled for completion in the immediate vicinity of the Bohol-AYACCA Resort Hotel currently under construction in Bohol Island. This commercial facility is directly adjacent to the beach and is easily accessible from the new Bohol Airport scheduled for completion in 2016,” the company website said.
In one of the company’s website pages, it contained a message of the President, which reads:
“Greetings from our President
Hi everyone. I am Reno Banawa, the president of AYACCA Realty and Development Inc.
In recent years, GDP growth in the Philippines has been growing steadily reaching approximately 7% year-on-year. In 2013, the Philippines has been upgraded to Investment Grade.
We at the Ayacca Group are committed to providing our overseas investors with the best investment environment, and at the same time, contribute towards the modernization of the Philippines.
In tandem with the company’s principles of becoming a ‘Bridge between nations’, creating a ‘Fusion of Filipino and Japanese Cultures’, and ‘Management Rooted in the Community’, our company aims to create a business system that benefits society while creating a business model for the common benefit, working hand in hand with our customers and business partners utilizing different forms of businesses.”
Then the same web page published the company’s “Philosophy,” which reads:
“Based on the principle of becoming a ‘Bridge between Nations’, creating a ‘Fusion of Filipino and Japanese Cultures’, and ‘Management Rooted in the Community’, our company abides by the philosophy of creating new innovations through the fusion of Japanese culture and technology with the Filipino culture, in order to contribute to the modernization of local communities.
Bridge between Nations
As a bridge between the Philippines and other countries, we manage our business with the hallmarks of ‘Reliability’, ‘Sustainability’ and ‘Social Responsibility’.
Fusion of Filipino and Japanese Cultures
By taking full advantage of Japanese culture and technology, we promote the modernization of Philippine communities.
Management Rooted in the Community
We create a network that fosters close contact with companies in the local area.”
NO WAY TO CONTACT AYACCA
The Bohol Tribune had tried but failed to get in touch with the respondents of the land scam case.
Unfortunately, Ayacca company’s website did not contain any contact information.
Information about Ayacca company cannot also be found at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC’s) official website.
It was not confirmed whether Ayacca has been authorized by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) to sell lots in Panglao.