KAZUO Okada, founder of Tiger Resorts Leisure and Entertainment Inc. (TRLEI), which controls Okada Manila, and three others entered a plea of not guilty during their arraignment on Friday at the METC Paranaque, Branch 91 for the grave coercion cases filed against them by the rival camp in the long-running legal battle over the plush integrated casino resort hotel.
Entering the not-guilty plea with Okada were businessman Antonio Cojuangco, Dindo Espeleta, and Atty. Florentino M. Herrera III.
“Kazuo Okada and his group reiterate that they will face the allegation in a just and very honest way and fight until full justice is obtained. The group remains confident that these grave coercion cases will be dismissed for utter failure of the prosecution to prove its charges with the quantum of evidence required in criminal cases, which is proof beyond reasonable doubt. These grave coercion cases would suffer dismissal just like the six other criminal complaints filed by the ousted Board of TRLEI/Divina Law Office for insufficiency of evidence and lack of merit,” said Atty. Rico Quicho, Kazuo Okada’s official spokesperson.
The grave coercion charges arose from the “violent” takeover by the pro-Kazuo camp of the Okada premises in May, where several executives alleged being manhandled as they were forced out of the area.
The two camps have been locked in a high-profile legal battle since Kazuo was ousted in 2017 as chairman of TRLEI and its parent company Universal Entertainment Corp. on allegations he had defrauded the company that he had founded.
The Supreme Court issued in April a status quo ante order (SQAO) which temporarily reinstated Okada as stockholder, director, chairman and CEO of TRLEI.