Thank you, Court of Appeals for saving NPC from Winston Garcia

NPC President Jerry S. Yap

January 23, 2012
National Press Club President Jerry S. Yap

Thank you, Court of Appeals
for saving NPC from Winston Garcia

The National Press Club of the Philippines expresses gratitude to the Court of Appeals for re-affirming that the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) has no ownership right over the Manansala mural sale that nearly jailed all officials of the National Press Club.

The CA reaffirmed reason and truth to prevail when it virtually nailed the final nail to the coffin of the ghost of Winston F. Garcia, who used his power and influence to the hilt just to imprison all officials of the NPC four years ago.

Brandishing the powers given him by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, he filed cases left and right against the NPC and its officials using the Manansala mural sale as the basis.

This former tough guy of Arroyo claimed that the painting attached to a lawanit wall 56 years ago belongs to the GSIS because it owns the building.

Winston Garcia argued that the wall painting drawn on a lawanit canvas that, in turn, was attached to a lumber frame in the fourth floor of NPC building formed a permanent part of the tenement just because the lawanit was cut in a shape that fit to the contours of the beams and the ceiling.

To him, that shape meant that the owner of the NPC building, when it was painted in 1956, intended to make the painting as the permanent part of the tenement.

The owner of the building in that year was the NPC. Ownership went to the GSIS when the officials of the club during those old times did not pay real property taxes that led the Manila City government to levy the whole property and sell the same in a public auction in April 1975 and it happened the GSIS was the lone bidder.

But on January 28, 1977, then President Marcos signed Letter of Instructions commanding the GSIS to donate the NPC building and the lot upon which it stands and get the other half of the original NPC land where the PLDT Building stands.

So that when Winston filed qualified theft charges against NPC officials, the defense was that there was no theft in the NPC sale of the mural because it was owned by the NPC.

Also, Winston filed eviction case to eject the NPC from the NPC building.

Then Winston filed before the Pasay City Regional Trial Court a case for recovery of the mural upon the intention that the GSIS owned it.

The NPC won in the Pasay Court. The GSIS went to the CA by certiorari alleging that the trial court gravely abused its discretion.

Thus, the CA ruled that the GSIS does not have evidence to support its claim that it owned the Manansala mural.

In so ruling, the CA said that the theme of the painting as press freedom clearly means that it was drawn for the organization that is the NPC and not for the building that happened to have been named as NPC building.

The CA also ruled it was fatal for the GSIS to file an action for recovery of the personal property because it means that it contradicted its arguments that the mural was a permanent part of the property.  Personal property under the law are property that can be physically moved by man from one place to another.  Real property are property that cannot be physically moved by man.

Additionally, the CA cited the illogical claim of the GSIS that the mural was actually commissioned by the Lopez family, ruling that if the Lopezes were not the owner of the building they cannot dictate the building owner to make the painting a permanent part of the building.

Because the sound arguments of the NPC were heard as to the ownership issue over the mural, the Club that is the oldest and the biggest group of newsmen is grateful to the CA.

On the other issue why the CA reversed the order of the trial court directing the GSIS to donate to the NPC the NPC building, the Club is confident it can get the nod of the Supreme Court on appeal by certiorari.

The CA ruled that the NPC should have paid the filing fee required because this counter- claim to compel donation was not connected to the claim of the GSIS that it owned the mural because it also owned the building.

On the other hand, the NPC asserts that the counter claim was connected to the claim of the GSIS.

Nevertheless, the NPC leaves it to the Supreme Court to rule upon it.
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