BAGUIO CITY – The Camp John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevCo) reminded the State-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) not to mislead and confuse the public on the true status of the 247-hectare John Hay Special Economic Zone (JHSEZ), saying that the legal action taken by the developer was primarily aimed at protecting the rights of third parties with vested rights to properties, homes, golf shares, businesses, livelihood and various interests inside the Camp.
Alfredo Yñiguez, CJHDevCo executive vice president, said there is nothing irregular about the 30 July 2015 Decision of the Court of Appeals which ordered BCDA to respect and not to disturb the contracts of Third Parties occupying the Leased premises. Claiming that in fact, the Court of Appeals decision merely affirmed the arbitration award, which the BCDA has been trying to illegally modify.
He pointed out the CA decision puts in place that all third parties are also vested rights holders who acted in ‘good faith’ when they entered into contracts with CJHDEVCO and 3. Specifically applicable in this case is Article 1385 of the Philippine Civil Code…”An order for ‘mutual restitution’ cannot include properties currently in possession of third persons who acted in ‘good faith’.”
He added what the Court of Appeals found irregular, amounting to grave abuse of discretion, are the acts of Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Baguio Branch 6 under Judge Cecilia Corazon Dulay-Archog, the Ex-Officio Sheriff of Baguio City, Atty. Linda-Montes Loloy, the Sheriff of RTC- Branch 6, Bobby Galano in enforcing and implementing the March 27, 2015 Order of Confirmation of Arbitral Award, the April 14, 2015 Writ of Execution and the April 20, 2015 Notice to Vacate against Third Parties who were neither included nor informed of the arbitral proceedings between BCDA and CJH Development Corporation (“CJHDEVCO”).
According to him, the CA ruled it is so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty for RTC Baguio Court Branch 6 to include Petitioner-Intervenors (Third Parties) in the Notice to Vacate that resulted in the taking of property without due process of law.
“We agree with BCDA’s statement that it is highly irregular for a court to modify the Final Award of an Arbitral Tribunal. This is precisely what RTC Baguio Court Branch 6 did when it issued a Writ of Execution and Notice to Vacate against Third Parties who were not parties in the arbitration proceedings, not included in the arbitration hearings and NOT mentioned at all in the Final Arbitral Award. Thus, the Court of Appeals found the inclusion of third parties in the Writ of Execution and Notice to Vacate by the RTC of Baguio City Branch 6 as a modification of the Final Award and for this reason, issued a writ of prohibition against the RTC of Baguio City Branch 6 from enforcing its Writ of Execution and Notice to Vacate against Third Parties,” Yñiguez stressed.
He cited the CA also ruled that a building by itself is a real or immovable property distinct from the land on which it is constructed and therefore can be a separate subject of contracts. The Deeds of Sale entered into by Petitioner-Intervenors (Third Parties) with CJHDEVCO appear to be contracts of sale of improvements subject to resolutory 50-year term.
Yñguez explained the statement of BCDA that the “CJHDEVCO lease with BCDA was only for 25 years, subject to renewal for another 25 years and not an automatic 50 years” is maliciously misleading as BCDA failed to include in their statement that per contract, “renewal for another 25 years is at the sole option of CJHDEVCO,” which CJHDEVCO has already exercised. In fact, the BCDA itself accepted residential units, condotel units and golf shares from CJHDEVCO with a term of 50 years, and further, resold one unit for a 75-year lease period.
He asserted the statement of BCDA that the Final Award “released it (CJHDEVCO) from obligation for the unpaid lease payment due BCDA in the tune of P3.4 billion,” is an outright lie. The Final Award ruled that the P3.4 billion alleged unpaid rent claimed by BCDA is NOT DUE to BCDA at all since BCDA was found to be in material breach of its obligations to CJHDEVCO.
Furthermore, Yñiguez opined also, the statement of BCDA that the Court of Appeals decision “imposes upon the government the obligation to honor sublease contracts until 2046 without compensation,” is likewise FALSE. The BCDA has deliberately kept mum on the portion of the Final Arbitral Award which “considered moneys and benefits received by CJHDEVCO (from Third Parties) shall be deemed compensation (to CJHDEVCO) for the interest DUE FROM BCDA for BCDA’s use of CJHDEVCO’s money.”
Finally, the CJHDevCo executive stated the statement of BCDA CEO Arnel Casanova about CJHDEVCO “using the courts to delay the government to develop government property” is absurd and laughable. Firstly, Camp John Hay is a developed property because of CJHDEVCO’s and Third Parties’ investment in the Camp. Secondly, when the Court of Appeals inquired during the oral arguments what the development plans of BCDA are for the Camp in the event it is returned to BCDA, BCDA’s counsel could not state any. Thus, the Court of Appeals was not fooled by BCDA’s non-existent development plans.
By Dexter A. See