Jean Macabodbod | May 19, 2015
CAMP JOHN HAY, BAGUIO CITY—Last February, the arbitration case between the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and the Camp John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevCo) ended with a decision of a mutual restitution wherein BCDA will pay the developer P1.42B and in turn, CJHDevCo will turn over the Camp.
On April 20, 2015, CJHDevCo received a notice to vacate the premises of Camp John Hay from the Baguio Court, notifying the developer to peacefully vacate and turn over the Camp to BCDA within 30 days. The notice was directed at CJHDevCo and “and all persons claiming rights under them.”
According to CJHDevCo, this refers to their employees only and therefore does not include all the sub-lessees, locators and homeowners who invested in good faith and thus are protected by the law on Obligations and Contracts. However, the investors were also given the notice by the Ex-Officio Sheriff of the Baguio RTC.
With the impending turnover and BCDA’s strong intent on kicking out the investors, everyone feels the palpable fear within the Camp. After the Arbitral decision was made, BCDA has made it clear that they will not honor the third parties’ contracts. They’ve harassed the investors by forcing them to sign a Deed of Assignment that essentially requires them to hand over their rights as owners, rights that in the first place they refuse to recognize. And they have gone as far as publishing the investors’ names, a violation of their right to privacy. All these pushed the investors to appeal to the Court and the President of the Philippines to assert their rights in their properties.
On the eve of the 20th, before the 30 days of the notice expired, CJHDevCo took precautionary measures in an event that a forced takeover may happen. CJHDevCo had security personnel and lawyers guarding zones identified within the Camp to ensure the safety of the investors as well as the public. This is in light of BCDA President Casanova’s violent tendencies such as during the opening the SM Aura, where he wore a bulletproof vest with armed guards behind him, in an attempt to block it.
The sub-lessees, locators, and homeowners, a lot of whom are retirees, have invested their hard-earned money in Camp John Hay in response to the government’s call for investments in the PPP Program. Yet in exchange, the BCDA, a government agency, has terrified these investors as they stepped on their rights and threatened to evict them.