STI plans commercial development for JASMS campus


MANILA, Philippines – The STI Group will likely push through with the commercial development of a prime two-hectare property in Quezon City —  site of the Jose Abad Santos Memorial School (JASMS) — now that the feud with the Benitez family has been settled.

Industry sources said STI Group really wanted the prime property, which is just across the North Triangle development of the Ayala Group but it was not yet clear whether STI would revive talks with the Ayalas for the development of the property.

In 2014, the STI Group and Ayala Land Inc. signed a deal to develop the property. At the time, plans included the construction of nine-story buildings that would have residential and commercial components.

The agreement at the time was the STI Group would lease the land to ALI.

However, the plan did not push through after the school community opposed the plan, resulting in a legal battle between STI and the Benitez family.

On Friday, the two parties said they have settled their differences and have agreed the Philippine Women’s University will remain under the control of the Benitez family, which will, however, give up the Quezon City property and a four-hectare property in Davao to STI.

Gaming businessman and Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez, the man who introduced STI chair Eusebio Tanco to the Benitez family, was also the one who helped end the dispute. Benitez and Tanco are business associates in listed company Leisure and Resorts World Corp., which was founded by Benitez and which Tanco is a director.

On Friday, the Benitez family and the STI Group have announced they have settled their differences through a dacion en pago arrangement of certain assets of Unlad Resources Development Corp.

The family, through Unlad, transferred its Quezon City and Davao properties to STI. Under the terms of the agreement, the JASMS campus will remain on the Quezon City campus along EDSA until the end of school year 2017 after which it will be moved to a new location.

The Philippine Women’s University will retain its Manila campuses on Taft Avenue and Indiana St. in Manila.

At the same time, STI representatives will resign from PWU, which will remain under the control of the Benitez family.

PWU president Francisco B. Benitez heralded the settlement as “a mandate to rebuild PWU and JASMS while remaining true to the educational legacy of our founders.”

He also disclosed talks are underway to open new campuses outside Metro Manila in time for PWU’s centennial celebration in 2019.