BAGUIO CITY – The state-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) slammed the Sobrepeña-led CJH Development Corporation (CJHDevCo) for misleading the Court of Appeals (CA) to issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) that has put on hold a portion of the Writ of Execution that orders CJHDevCo and all persons claiming rights under them or sublessees to peacefully vacate Camp John Hay.
The Office of the Executive Clerk of Court and Ex-Officio Sheriff of Baguio is in charge of implementing the Writ of Execution.
“CJHDevCo blatantly misled the Court of Appeals of various lies that formed the very foundation for the issuance of TRO,” BCDA President and CEO Arnel Paciano D. Casanova said.
He said CJHDevCo misled the CA to believe that there was going to be violence following the end of the 30-day Notice to Vacate. “I’m very sure that the Sheriff of Baguio who is implementing the Writ of Execution and the Notice to Vacate, and assisted by the Philippine National Police (PNP), will not start any violence. So does that mean that the Sobrepeña-led CJHDevCo has threatened to provoke violence against the Baguio Sheriff?” Casanova said.
Casanova also said that CJHDevCo mislead the CA by saying that the P1.42 billion is advance rental payments when in fact it is a refund that should be paid by CJHDevCo to the sublessees.
It will be recalled that the Arbitral Tribunal of the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center, Inc. came out with its Final Award that ordered CJHDevCo to vacate Camp John Hay and promptly deliver the leased property, inclusive of all new constructions and permanent improvements to the BCDA. The Final Award also ordered the BCDA to return to CJHDevCo the amount of P1.42-B which the CJHDevCo paid to the BCDA as lease payments.
BCDA has already complied with the Writ of Execution on the P1.42 billion that is now in an escrow account under the direct control of the Baguio Court.
Casanova said from day one of its operations, the Sobrepeña-led CJHDevCo may have been misleading people to avoid accountability to the sublessees.
CJHDevCo has misled their sublessees by selling them 50-year lease hold rights when in fact the primary or main lease between BCDA and CJHDevCo is only 25 years renewable for another 25 years. The 25 year renewal is not a vested right but merely an option. The renewal is not automatic but subject to negotiations by the parties upon exercise of the option. CJHDevCo collected payments for 50 year leases.
The Sobrepena-led CJHDevCo would like to get hold of the P1.42 billion and at the same time run away from their responsibility to return the lease payments its sublessees have already paid.
Casanova said that the sublessees should now seriouly claim from the P1.42 billion that the BCDA is returning to CJHDevCo.
“The only way for the CJHDevCo’s victims to recover their investments and protect their interests is to lay claim to the P1.42-B that the BCDA deposited in the court,” Casanova said.
Casanova also disclosed that CJHDevco has no authority and license to sell condominium/hotel, lots or house and lots as they are not authorized by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB). They misled third parties by making it appear that they are allowed to sell hotel units and house and lot within the leased area, when in truth it is just a sublease.
At present, CJHDevCo has no authority to operate in the Camp John Hay because there is no longer an existing contract between BCDA and CJHDevCo and that CJHDevCo has not been issued a permit by the John Hay Management Corporation (JHMC).
According to him, CJHDevCo’s blatant move of misleading the CA is a violation of the rule of law, not to mention a desperate act to delay the inevitable at the expense of sublessees and the Filipino people.
He pointed out that it was CJHDevCo who compelled the BCDA to undergo into the arbitration process. The CJHDevCo filed for a petition to confirm the Final Award of the PDRCI Arbitral Tribunal before the Baguio RTC. The court confirmed the Final Award that paved the way for the Writ of Execution issued by Hon. Judge Cecilia Corazon Dulay-Archog and its eventual implementation by the Baguio Sheriff. All of a sudden, CJHDevCo would want to defy the court decision that it had asked for.
“By misleading the CA to issue a TRO, CJHDevCo has shown its defiance and contempt towards the rule of law,” Casanova pointed out.
Casanova noted that the BCDA will exhaust all legal remedies. He added that BCDA has been consistent in respecting the rule of law. “Our previous actions clearly show that the BCDA has abided with the orders of the Judge.” He added that CJHDevCo should do the same.
The BCDA also expressed its concern with the way CJHDevCo is just trying to delay the inevitable at the expense of some sublessees whom they have been led to believe that the Notice to Vacate is not directed at sublessees.
It was very clear during the pre-execution conference held on April 17, 2015 between BCDA and CJHDevCo in the presence of Judge Archog of the Baguio RTC Branch 6 that “third party investors or vested right holders” which the court referred to as sublessees are covered by the Final Award issued by the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center, Inc (PDRCI).
It is highly probable that the CJHDevCo may have deliberately withheld this vital information to its sub-lessees.
Camp John Hay sublessees are strongly advised to consult the BCDA and JHMC Help Desks at the following contact details: Baguio Help Desk: (074) 423-5403, (074) 422-1963 and at email@example.com; Manila Help Desk: (02) 575-1700 local 1728 and 1734 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Casanova said the priority of the sublessees is to protect their investment and not fight the losing battle of CJHDevCo.
Quite a number of sublessees have already signed up with the BCDA guaranteeing the continuity of their business operation or lease including former Senate President Manuel Villar and Congressman Eric Singson. By Dexter A. See