Business Mirror | July 9, 2015
PRIVATE company Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevco) secured a respite in its tiff with a state-owned firm after the Court of Appeals (CA) issued an order preventing the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) from evicting CJHDevco from Camp John Hay, Baguio City.
The status quo order was issued in open court by Associate Justice Noel Tijam, chairman of the Special Fifth Division, which is hearing the petition filed by CJHDevco. The company, led by businessman Robert John Sobrepeña, asked the CA to prevent the BCDA from enforcing even on third-party investors the writ of execution and notice to vacate issued by Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Baguio City against CJHDevco.
Tijam appealed to the parties to maintain a status quo once the 60-day temporary restraining order it issued on May 19 expires on July 19.
All parties agreed to maintain a status quo with the BCDA imposing the condition that all transactions of CJHDevco during the period will be audited.
For his part, Tijam assured all the parties that the appellate court will resolve CJHDevco’s petition not later than the end of the month.
Tijam said one of the members of the division will not be back until July 22.
“If you will agree to maintain the status quo to give us the opportunity to decide on the merits of the case with the assurance that before the end of the month the court will decide on the merit. It’s a matter of waiting until end of July.”
The order was issued the day the BCDA, a government-owned and -controlled corporation (GOCC), issued a statement saying CJHDevco misled its sub-lessees to believe that sub-lessees were not at all affected by the Arbitral Tribunal’s final award.
The BCDA said CJHDevco also misled the sub-lessees to believe that until the GOCC pays the P1.42 billion in arrears, it will not vacate Camp John Hay.
The statement quoted BCDA head for legal services lawyer Peter Paul Andrew T. Flores as saying CJHDevco COO Alfredo R. Yñiguez III issued “a letter giving sub-lessees the impression that they were excluded from the final award despite his knowledge to the contrary.”
According to Flores, “Yñiguez’s statement runs opposite to the declaration of the RTC that the final award issued by the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center Inc. directed the return of all the structures and improvements to BCDA without exemption.”
Flores cited an April 17 Pre-Execution Hearing “attended by Yñiguez himself wherein the court declared that, ‘the dispositive portion of the award did not make a specific exception on those that are being held by sub-lessees or vested rights holders.’”
The Final Award of the Arbitral Tribunal ordered CJHDevco to vacate the leased premises and promptly deliver the leased property, inclusive of all new constructions and permanent improvements introduced during the term of the lease as reckoned from the execution of the Original Lease Agreement, to BCDA in good and tenantable condition in all respects, reasonable wear and tear excepted.
The final award ordered the BCDA to return to CJHDevco the total amount of rentals paid.
The BCDA said in the statement that “the ‘notice to vacate’ is not [emphasis BCDA’s] directed at persons who acquired rights in ‘good faith’ such as the CJH golf club members, Manor & Forest Lodge condotel unit owners, Forest Cabin unit owners, Country Home owners, Log Home owners, lot owners, residents, locators and investors.”
(With additional report by Joel R. San Juan)