By Joel R. San Juan | Business Mirror | March 3, 2015

A LAWYER on Tuesday said that third-party interest should not be prejudiced by the recent outcome of the arbitration proceedings between the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and Camp John Hay developer Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevCo).

Lawyer Gilbert Reyes of Poblador, Bautista and Reyes Law Offices said during a media forum that the BCDA shoud also honor contracts with third parties for properties and businesses within Camp John Hay.

The Philippine Dispute Resolution Center Inc. (PDRCI) recently ordered the BCDA to pay CJHDevCo the amount of P1.5 billion, representing rental payments made by it to the BCDA since 1998.

The arbitration body also held that the BCDA is not entitled to the P3.3 billion that it is claiming against CJHDevCo allegedly representing unpaid rentals to the BCDA.

The BCDA, on the other hand, claimed victory and said that the arbitration committee ordered CJHDevCo to vacate Camp John Hay in Baguio City and return the property to the BCDA.

However, after the decision on the arbitration case was released on February 11, there were confirmed reports that the BCDA had attempted to forcibly take over Camp John Hay again, just as it has attempted in the past without a valid court order.

It was reported that this incident required the intervention of the mayor of Baguio, Mauricio G. Domogan, to prevent what could have otherwise been an unnecessary incident. “The [arbitration] decision does not affect third parties,” Reyes explained.

“An arbitration case is not like a court case; it is a case between parties alone and affects only the parties involved. We trust that even with the issuance of the award, the parties will act in ‘good faith’ and with due regard for the rights and interests of innocent third parties who are not involved in the dispute between CJHDevCo and the BCDA,” he added.

The arbitration case was filed by CJHDevCo against the BCDA, after the latter refused to accept CJHDevCo’s offer of payments and instead insisted on a payment from CJHDevCo of an alleged obligation of P3.3 billion for rental back payments.

The arbitration court ruled that the BCDA breached the contract between the BCDA and CJHDevCo when it failed to set up an agreed-upon One Stop Action Center that was supposed to speed up the processing of permits for the development of Camp John Hay.

The PDRCI decision also calls for undeveloped portions within Camp John Hay to be returned to the BCDA.