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MANILA, Philippines – A son of retired Supreme Court Justice Emilio Gancayco yesterday said that charges of theft and malicious mischief concerning missing garments and equipment filed against him before the Parañaque Prosecutor’s Office, were baseless and were simply meant to harass him.
Lawyer Pablo Gancayco said that Romeo Chong, owner of Forever 21 branches in various malls in Metro Manila, filed the complaint before the office of Assistant City Prosecutor Leah Roma in June. Gancayco said he has not yet submitted a counter-affidavit.
Chong alleged he lost thousands of clothes and equipment after police raided his stores based on an earlier complaint by Gancayco. The goods were brought to a warehouse owned by Carepak in Sucat, Parañaque City.
A lower court dismissed Gancayco’s claim for lack of merit and ordered the seized items returned to Chong on Feb. 17.
“The truth of the matter is that some of the seized goods were taken back by Mr. Romeo Chong, owner of Forever 21 branches in various malls in Metro Manila, through what we believe was a baseless order of a Manila court,” Gancayco said in a letter faxed to The Philippine Star.
Gancayco who specializes in Intellectual Property Law, further noted, “Since the goods were seized through a valid search warrant, said goods are in the legal custody of the court and police authorities. However, Mr. Chong filed a criminal complaint before the Parañaque Prosecutor’s Office for qualified theft and malicious mischief only against the directors of Forever 21 Inc., the warehousing company and me.”
He questioned why “Mr. Chong did not include in his complaint the judge and the police authorities who have actual legal custody of the seized goods.” Chong’s complaint noted that an inventory showed that of 38,898 items seized by police, only 24,032 items were retrieved and returned by the court sheriff. He said, “most, if not all” of the retrieved items “were completely damaged” because Carepak’s warehouse “was not well-maintained.”
Gancayco also said that the report concerning the filing of a theft case against him brought mental anguish to his family since his father is reportedly confined at the Philippine Heart Center.
Gancayco represents the US-based firm Forever 21, while Chong has carried the brand locally for eight years before Gancayco’s client initiated a claim for the right to use the brand in the Philippines.