BAGUIO CITY – The embattled Camp John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevCO) slammed a desperate move of the State-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) to harass and intimidate the developer into leaving and peacefully turning over the 247-hectare John Hay Special Economic Zone (JHSEZ) to the government by allegedly master mining the filing of an P88 million tax evasion case against one of the subsidiaries of the company before the justice department.
Robert John Sobrepeña, CJHDevCo chairman, said it is unfortunate that Camp John Hay Leisure Inc., the management arm of the developer, has not yet received the formal charge sheet of the tax evasion complaint and the appropriate subpoena from the justice department.
“We only learned about the multi-million tax evasion case from the publications of BCDA but it is unfortunate that we never received copies of the complaint from concerned investigators,” Sobrepeña stressed.
It can be recalled that the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) filed tax evasion charges against CJH Leisure Inc. amounting to around P88 million for alleged under declaration of income for the years 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
The CJHDevCo official disclosed CJH Leisure Inc. was hired by third party locators of the CJH Manor, and the Forest Lodge to be the management contractor of the facilities considering that the group which he also chairs is composed of former employees of the Hyatt Terraces Hotel based in the city prior to its being devastated by the July 16, 1990 killer earthquake.
He pointed the company is willing to face their accusers squarely before the proper forum because they already assessed and evaluated the records of the years being referred as the years where there was under declaration and they are confident that they will win the case again.
“It’s just another form of harassment because BCDA officials cannot admit their blatant loss on our arbitration case. We should not resolve the matter through publications but let us face each other in the proper forum,” Sobrepeña added.
The CJHDevCo official asserted the developer is willing to face the battery of charges being hurled against them by the BCDA and he is confident they will again win the cases because BCDA has come out with various interpretations of their own in relation to the arbitration tribunal decision handed down by the Makati-based Philippine Dispute Resolution Center (PDRCI).
Sobrepeña accepted the challenge of some sectors in the city for him and BCDA officials to have a face to face press conference, saying that the best thing that BCDA could do is hand him the check amounting to P1.42 billion and he will hand over to them the keys of the camp in order to put an end to the long standing issue in relation to the operation of the former American military base in the city.
He claimed BCDA should now stop interpreting things on their own but instead simply comply with the confirmed arbitration tribunal decision to allow everyone to move on and sustain the vision of John Hay as an engine of growth in Baguio City and the Cordillera.
By Dexter A. See