Business Mirror Mauricio Vieta / Correspondent | September 9, 2013
BAGUIO CITY- Mayor Mauricio Domogan lent his presence at the Camp John Hay (CJH), a property that has been a center of contention between the government and businessman Robert John Sobrepeña.
Domogan joined executives of the Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevCo) who celebrated the first anniversary of the Forest Lodge Hotel.
CJHDevCo officials said they believe it is more the office of Domogan that has jusrisdiction over their hotel than lessor Base Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).
CJHDevCo Chief Operating Officer Alfredo Yñiguez III said because of their contentions with BCDA, the hotel could be considered the longest constructed facility in the Philippines.
Construction that started in 2003 and was finished only last year.
“This is the prime example of how our life was made difficult by our lessor.”
The anniversary celebration came four days after the BCDA said the Department of Justice filed two counts of malversation against CJHDevCo Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert John Sobrepeña.
The BCDA said that Sobrepeña, who also owned the College Assurance Plan, has already been arraigned and would face trial.
The BCDA said they filed the charges against CJHDevCo “for refusing to return 26 BCDA-owned hotel units in CJH Manor and CJH Suites, Baguio City, while counting to earn from these units.”
These properties are 16 units of the CJH Manor Hotel, and 10 units of the CJH Suites Hotel, which have a total value of P121 million. The hotel units were payments in kind or dacion en pago made to the BCDA in 2008, as partial settlement of CJHDevCo’s unpaid rental obligations.”
But Yñiguez said the BCDA was not forthcoming in the permits, effectively blocking them from operating the Forest Lodge Hotel, which was formerly called the CJH Suite.
It was finished in 2008 but was only opened last year after the Baguio City government issued the permit, according to Yñiguez.
Local government executives were also present during the inauguration of the hotel last year.
Domogan said he issued the documents refused to be released by the BCDA because he believes the city has the jurisdiction over the hotel, which is located in a camp formerly used by American servicemen.
According to BCDA President and CEO Arnel Paciano D. Casanova, CJHDevCo’s debt to the government has already ballooned to P3.3 billion.