John Hay takeover gets extended TRO
BAGUIO CITY—The developer of Camp John Hay has acquired a second temporary restraining order (TRO) against a government takeover attempt over the former American rest and recreation center.
Baguio Regional Trial Court Judge Mona Lisa Tiongson-Tabora issued a 17-day restraining order in a preliminary conference last Jan. 28, the day the first 72-hour TRO granted to the Fil Estate-led Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevco) lapsed.
Alfredo Yñiguez III, CJHDevco executive vice president, said he sought a second TRO because of “unimpeachable reports that the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) had massed up 300 security guards [at a hotel along Marcos Highway] ready to take over John Hay.”
Reporters proceeded to the hotel but were told the guards were being recruited for a training session.
Tabora’s ruling noted the absence of BCDA lawyers in the preliminary conference last January 28, although summons to the agency was received by BCDA corporate secretary Peter Paul Andrew Flores.
“After a careful consideration of the allegations stated in the urgent petition duly supported by affidavits of petitioner’s witnesses and the arguments propounded by the applicant through its counsel (lawyer Gilbert Raymund Reyes), the court finds that great and possibly irreparable injury might be suffered by the petitioner if the 72-hour TRO, which expires today, is not extended,” Tabora said.
The first TRO was issued by Executive Judge Iluminada Cabato of the Baguio RTC on January 24.
The new TRO prohibits the BCDA, as well as its subsidiary, estate manager John Hay Management Corp., “from committing any act tending to wrest control and/or possession of the property subject of this case or any part thereof including all improvements found therein, from petitioner [CJHDevco] and/or persons claiming rights to the leased property or portions thereof from said petitioner, including any act of forcible entry or forceful occupation and/or [ejection] of said petitioner or its authorized representatives and/or any award of rights in the subject property to a new entity.”
An Inquirer check at Camp John Hay last January 28 showed that armed security guards were stationed around two hotels, The Manor and The Suites, which the BCDA was supposed to have targeted for repossession.
On January 29, the number of security guards around the CJHDevco hotels had been reduced, although guards continued to inspect all vehicles entering the hotels’ compound.
Arnel Paciano Casanova, BCDA president, complained about this development in BCDA’s tussle with the developer.
“We are surprised at the haste [by which] such TRO was [released] considering that BCDA was not even heard and the allegations are completely baseless,” said Casanova, a lawyer.
BCDA has been collecting up to P3 billion in rentals and interest, but CJHDevco said the government violated terms of a contract that led to huge losses on the part of the developer. Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon