BCDA puts up help desk for John Hay third parties

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BAGUIO CITY  – The State-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) established a help desk to assist all sub-lessees, sub-locators and buyers of properties within the 247-hectare John Hay Special |Economic Zone (JHSEZ) for them to make the proper decision pursuant to the previous decision of the Makati-based Philippine Dispute Resolution Center, Inc. (PDRCI) arbitration tribunal.

Lawyer Arnel Paciano D. Casanova, BCDA president and chief executive officer, said the newly established help desk, among others, will provide legal assistance to the sub-lessees, sub-locators and buyers so that they can exercise their rights to protect their respective investments inside the former American military base.

“We will provide them with the necessary information and documents they need so that they are well informed and could come up with a prudent decision to protect their rights and interests over the properties that they were able to acquire,” Casnova stressed.

The BCDA official asserted the government recognized the fact that they were misled into signing a 50-year lease contract by the Camp John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevCo) instead of a 25-year lease and that due to the developer’s alleged dis-information campaign, the more BCDA need to help the supposed victims.

For his part, lawyer Peter Paul Andrew T. Flores, BCDA head for legal services, pointed out the existing help desk was also mean to answer and clarify queries from sub-lessees, sub-locators and buyers on the status of their contracts, saying that there will be signing of new contracts between the locators and lessees once the city’s Regional Trial Court (RTC) shall have issued the necessary judicial confirmation and writ of execution on the decision of the arbitration tribunal covering the obligation of both parties.

“We understand their sub-lessees, sub-locators and buyers predicament on this on-going legal tussle. WE are duty-bound as a public servant to inform and update them on the latest developments inside the camp,” Flores said.

According to him, both the BCDA and CJHDevCo have recently filed before the local court separate petitions for judicial confirmation that will pave the way for the implementation of the PDRCI’s final award.

Under the award, BCDA is to return to CJHDevCo the amount of P1.42 billion which the developer paid to the government as lease rental payments since 1996.

On the other hand, the CJHDevCo has been ordered to vacate the lased 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 the BCDA in good and tenantable condition in all aspects, reasonable wear and tear accepted.

Flores cited as held by the Supreme Court (SC), ‘a judgement of eviction against a lessee affects his sub-lessee, even if the latter are not sued in the ejectment case. This is so, because a sub-lessee can invoke to right superior to that of his sub-lessor, and the moment the latter is duly ousted from the premises, the former has no leg to stand on.”

He added the sub-lessees’ right, if any, is to demand reparation for damages from his sub-lessor.

Casanova urged the sub-lessees, sub-locators and buyers to run after the CJHDevCo and that the only way for the developer’s victims to recover their respective investments and protect their interests is to lay claim to the P1.42 billion award to be given by the government to the developer in exchange for the return of the property to the State.

The sub-lessees, sub-locators and buyers were advised to get in touch with the BCDA’s subsidiary, the John Hay Management Committee (JHMC), manager on special economic zone administration Zaldy Bello at the JHMC corporate office inside the camp.

For the Manila help desk, sub-lessees can get in touch with BCDA public affairs officer Michelle San Juan-de Vera at the BCDA corporate center, 2nd floor Bonifacio Technology Center, 31st St. corner 2nd Avenue, Bonifacio Global City.

Casanova asserted BCDA will respect contacts that were done in good faith while contracts which were concealed from them from the very start will surely be subjected to appropriate litigations in order for the sub-lessees to collect their payments from the embattled developer.

By Dexter A. See

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