Taguig City’s jurisdiction over BGC complex sealed – SC
Updated @ 11:35 p.m., April 3, 2023
MANILA, Philippines — It’s final: The Bonifacio Military Reservation (BMR), which includes the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) lifestyle and business district, is part of Taguig City.
On Monday, the Supreme Court (SC) announced the entry of a decision in a case in which Taguig City and Makati City had both claimed their right to exercise jurisdiction over the BMR.
The SC ruled in December 2021 that BMR is within Taguig City’s area of authority. The decision attained finality in September 2022.
Under court rules, a decided case’s enrollment in the SC’s Book of Entries of Judgments means the case can no longer be appealed or revised.
In its ruling, the SC Third Division said: “Clearly, the greater weight of evidence, consisting in contemporaneous acts of lawful authorities, favor the position of Taguig.”
The same ruling also made permanent the writ of preliminary injunction issued in 1994 by the Pasig City Regional Trial Court that stopped Makati City “from exercising jurisdiction over, making improvements on, or otherwise treating as part of its territory, Parcels 3 and 4, Psu-2031 comprising Fort Bonifacio.”
Covered by the contested area are the business district BGC, the Philippine Army Headquarters, Navy installation, Marines headquarters, Consular area, JUSMAG, Heritage Park, Libingan ng mga Bayani, AFP Officers Village, and six other villages.
In a statement, the Taguig City government said the SC’s final ruling “marks the beginning of a new chapter for Taguig and its people. Our victory in the courts of law is not merely a vindication of our rights. It is equally a command for us to make good use of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to expand our brand of committed public service to new constituents. We welcome our new Taguigeños with this solemn promise.”
Taguig’s claim dates back to 1587 when it was first established as a pueblo within the Spanish province of Manila (now Rizal).
In 1903, Taguig and Muntinlupa were absorbed by the municipality of Pateros, but two years later, the municipality of Pateros was changed to Taguig and reacquired its former area. It also absorbed territories of Pateros and Muntinlupa including the Hacienda Maricaban.
The owner, Doña Dolores viuda de Casal sold a portion of the property to the US in 1902, which later became Fort McKinley.
Then, in 1957, President Carlos P. Garcia signed proclamation No. 423 establishing Fort McKinley as Fort Bonifacio.
In 1995, then President Fidel V. Ramos issued Special Patent No. 3595 conveying the land in favor of the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) and Special Patent No. 3596 which conveyed parcels of land within Taguig in favor of the Fort Bonifacio Development Corp. (FBDC).
The SC ruling affirmed the Pasig court’s decision on July 8, 2011, that “Fort Bonifacio Military Reservation is confirmed to be part of the City of Taguig.”
Also affirmed is the 1994 writ of preliminary injunction issued by the Pasig court stopping the local government of Makati from exercising jurisdiction over making improvements on, or otherwise treating as part of its territory, parcels 3 and 4 comprising Fort Bonifacio.
But the SC opted not to rule on Taguig’s argument that Presidential Proclamations, No. 2475 and 518 issued in 1986 by President Ferdinand Marcos and in 1990 by President Corazon Aquino, violated the constitutional guarantee of self-determination when they altered Taguig’s boundaries without complying with the requirement for a plebiscite by the inhabitants to be affected.
The SC said the property dispute could be resolved without touching on the constitutionality of the two proclamations.