Luisito Espinosa gets taste of justice | Inquirer Sports
Bare Eye

Luisito Espinosa gets taste of justice

IT’S NOT only late, it’s very late.

Former world boxing champion Luisito Espinosa, son of a waiter from Tondo, was ordered by the Court of Appeals to be paid his full purse (in dollars) for his successful defense of the WBC featherweight crown in Koranadal, South Cotabato, in December 1997.

The decision stemmed from the case: Luisito Espinosa versus Hilario de Pedro 111, Joselito Mondejar, and the Estate of Deceased Rodolfo V. Nazario and his legal heirs.


In a ruling rendered by the second division of the Court of Appeals on May 26, 2015, it was ordered that “Defendants-Appellees Estate of Deceased Rodolfo Nazario and his legal heirs namely: his wife Minita V. Chiqui-Nazario and his children Roderick Nazario, Rommelious Nazario and Karen Patricia Nazario Bouzaid, to pay Plaintiff-Apellant Luisito Espinosa the following:


“1) the amount of $130,349; 2) interest thereon and the amount of 12 percent per annum counted from the date of judicial demand; 3) interest thereon at the rate of six percent from July 1, 2013 until full satisfaction.”

* * *

Said the appellate court: “We take note of the length of time that this case has been pending. The complaint was filed by the plaintiff in 1997, and it has taken 18 years for the case to reach this point. It would be unfair and impractical to let this case go on for another number of years.”

For the record, Espinosa stopped the rugged Carlos Rios of Argentina to retain his world featherweight crown in a championship purportedly staged by then Gov. Larry de Pedro of South Cotabato.

Espinosa’s Japanese manager, Joe Koizumi, created a scene and slammed a chair on a restaurant floor on the eve of the bout after the governing Games and Amusements Board allowed the weigh-in with Espinosa’s purse still unpaid.

* * *


It was a magnificent bout. Unfortunately, it was not shown on national television the same day due to transmission hassles.

The video of the boxing card, which was started early in the afternoon, was supposed to be rushed by motorcycle to the Davao airport and next flown to Cebu on a private flight. Because of poor signal, it could  only be beamed to Manila from Cebu, where the video would be processed for showing on national television.

However, the air traffic officer assigned in Davao left his post ahead, thus bungling the whole process.

As could only be expected, the millions supposed to be earned from television commercials were all lost.

* * *

With no television revenues realized, De Pedro ended up being sued by Espinosa and his Japanese manager for failing in his obligation. The case, involving Nazario and Mondejar, was filed with the Manila Regional Trial Court, and later with the Office of the Ombudsman, where it did not prosper.

As a last resort, Espinosa decided to bring the case to the Court of Appeals through his lawyer.

The case dragged on as Nazario’s side maintained he got involved in the promotion only by signing an agreement (dated Oct. 16, 1997) to accommodate Koizumi and De Pedro “for they had no domestic license to promote the fight.”

* * *

The appellate court, in rendering a ruling, noted that Nazario “certified the delayed payment to Espinosa the balance of $130,349. Defendant-appellees try to convince Us that Nazario merely ‘noted’ the Letter of Guarantee… By placing his signature thereon, he certified that there was a delayed payment to Espinosa and the payment of the purse money is, ultimately, his obligation as set forth in the Agreement dated Oct. 16, 1997.”

Meanwhile, lawyer Ramon Maronilla, second vice president of the UP Alumni Association, has requested the publication of the court ruling “so Luisito can get the prize money he never had.”

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“It took us 21 years to fight this legal battle and hope a settlement can be made,” he said.

TAGS: court, Davao, Luisito Espinosa, South Cotabato

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