John Hay firm rejects BCDA order to leave, writes PalacePhilippine Daily Inquirer
BAGUIO CITY—The developer of Camp John Hay has informed the Office of the President that it has rejected a government order directing it to leave the former American rest and recreation center.
Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevco), in a May 23 letter to the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), also demanded that BCDA honor a court-imposed status quo agreement which prevents it from evicting the firm.
A copy of the letter, which was signed by CJHDevco president Ferdinand Santos, was also delivered to Malacañang. It was received on May 24 by Executive Secretary Pacquito Ochoa Jr.
On May 15, lawyer Arnel Paciano Casanova, BCDA president, terminated CJHDevco’s 1996 lease contract for unpaid rent of about P3 billion.
Casanova also ordered CJHDevco to vacate the John Hay Special Economic Zone.
But Santos, in his letter, said the reasons which the BCDA cited for terminating CJHDevco’s Oct. 19, 1996, lease agreement were spurious.
CJHDevco, owned and chaired by real estate developer Robert John Sobrepeña, assumed the Camp John Hay contract in 1996 after it was abandoned by its original leaseholder.
It said the May 15 termination notice violated two things: a status quo agreement between the two parties on Feb. 27 and a court order on April 27.
The Feb. 27 status quo deal prevents the BCDA and its estate manager, John Hay Management Corp. (JHMC), from “committing any act tending to wrest control of the leased property … until after the court would have resolved the pending incident.”
The April 27 order, issued by Baguio Regional Trial Court Judge Cleto Villacorta III, stopped the BCDA from taking over Camp John Hay.
Alfredo Yñiguez, CJHDevco executive vice president and chief operating officer, said CJHDevco had asked the court to reduce the amount of bond required for the injunction order against the BCDA.
In a statement, CJHDevco also said the BCDA was responsible for contractual breaches, alleging that the government agency “failed to deliver 32 hectares of the leased property most suitable for development, failed to immediately demolish structures on critical portions, delayed issuance of implementing rules and regulations, failed to secure agreement for incentive with Bureau of Customs and environmental permits from [JHMC’s predecessor] John Hay Poro Point Development Corp. needed for the projects.”
“If [the BCDA] is truly confident in the justness of its claims, [it] should submit to arbitration and ventilate [its] claims [before] arbitration proceedings, instead of acting unilaterally and abusively in terminating the lease and making baseless demands,” Santos said in the statement. Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon