Senate to probe BCDA, CJHDevCo row

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BAGUIO CITY – The Senate will look into the unabated ‘word war’ between the State-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and the Sobrepeña-owned Camp John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevCo) amidst the recent decision of the Makati-based Philippine Dispute Resolution Center, Inc. (PDCRI) defining the obligation of the two parties in the mutual restitution of the original and succeeding agreements covering the operation of the 247-hectare John Hay Special Economic Zone, Senator Francis Escudero said here.

Escudero cited it is best for the Senate to bring the officials of the BCDA and CJHDevCo together in one forum in order to iron out things because officers of the two corporation talk a lot when they speak in different events and venues.

“We must put an end to the controversy because if we allow them to continuously discuss their concerns in public, their corporations might sink with them. They must shape up or ship out,” Senator Escudero stressed.

The senator wants to look into the matter why both parties continue to trade allegations even after the PDRCI rendered a final ruling on the dispute between the two parties, citing that there is a need for both parties to keep quiet about the issues and await the judicial confirmation of the arbitral decision before taking the necessary legal steps to suit the interests of their respective corporations.

It can be recalled on February 11, 2015, the Makati-based PDCRI came out with a 280-page decision ordering the mutual restitution of the original lease agreement and succeeding revised agreements entered into between the two parties and ordered the CJHDevCo to return the economic zone to the government while the BCDA was directed to pay CJHDevCo the amount of P1.42 billion representing the lease rentals it paid to the government since 1996.

However, BCDA’s claim of over P3.4 billion against the developer on unpaid lease rentals was junked by the arbitral tribunal for lack of merit.

Both parties filed separate petitions before the city’s Regional Trial Court (RTC) for judicial confirmation of the arbitral decision and the subsequent issuance of the required writ of execution for both parties to comply with their obligations.

Instead of complying with the arbitral order, both parties have been engaged in a ‘word and media war’ regarding the status of third parties, particularly sub-lessees, sub-locators and buyers considering that CJHDevCo maintained that the third party buyers are considered buyers in good faith while BCDA urged sub-lessees and sub-locators to lay claim over the P1.42 billion that will be paid by the government to the developer.

Senator Escudero explained the best thing to do with the current situation is to call concerned officials of both parties together in a gathering so that all issues and concerns will be addressed by each of the parties in real time instead of being engaged in separate for a that tend to confuse the public about what is really the true picture of the former American military base.

It was learned that the local court is expected to render the mandatory judicial confirmation on the arbitral tribunal decision within the next two months while both parties are preparing their respective legal strategies on how to confront the court decision once it will be released for implementation.

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