BCDA: Perjury charge bogus, proof reveals John Hay fraud
BAGUIO CITY-–The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) on Sunday said it had evidence that the buyer of a log home, which the developer of Camp John Hay gave up to settle its debts in 2008, still held proprietary rights over this asset at the time it was offered as payment to the BCDA.
It is this detail which led to the conclusion that Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevco), owned and chaired by businessman Robert John Sobrepeña, may have defrauded the government, the
BCDA said in a statement.
It was issued as a reaction to the June 14 perjury charges filed by CJHDevco against BCDA president Arnel Paciano Casanova for pursuing the fraud charges against Sobrepeña and his firm on March 9.
Casanova’s complaint in the Department of Justice (DOJ) said CJHDevco included Log Home Number 9 at the former Voice of America lot among the assets it turned over to the government as part of its May 27, 2010, dacion en pago agreement (the act of relinquishing assets to a lender or owner to settle an obligation).
The BCDA fraud complaint said the house had been bought by William Sy when it was counted as one of five dacion en pago log homes.
The agency said the BCDA would not have condoned P36,801,499 of CJHDevco’s outstanding debts “had it known that CJHDevco had sold the unit to another person in 1999.”
The BCDA had included as evidence CJHDevco’s Official Receipt No. 16074, dated July 27, 1999, that was issued to Sy in order to acknowledge his P20-million downpayment for the log home.
The dacion en pago was a provision of a 2008 renegotiated lease agreement.
But CJHDevco rescinded this lease agreement in 2011 to pursue arbitration, leading to a contractual dispute with the BCDA this year that culminated with the termination of the Camp John Hay lease on May 15.
The BCDA, however, has not enforced another order evicting CJHDevco from Camp John Hay pending clarification from a court here on a preliminary injunction it imposed on the agency.
“[The] BCDA exercised due diligence and did not deliberately and willfully omit facts when it filed the estafa complaint against Sobrepeña and other responsible officers of CJHDevco,” the BCDA statement said, quoting the agency’s lawyer, Demetrio Custodio Jr.
“Based on all the pertinent documents available to [the] BCDA at the time the [fraud] complaint was filed on March 9 … there was ample factual and legal basis to support the estafa case,” it said.
CJHDevco said no irregularity was present when the log home was handed to the agency, according to the firm’s perjury complaint that was filed in the Office of the City Prosecutor in Manila by Manuel Ubarra Jr., CJHDevco vice president for litigation.
The perjury complaint included a May 18 affidavit issued by Sy, which said he had demanded a refund in 2001 and 2005 after he decided to abandon the purchase of the log home.
The complaint said Sy’s statement proved that no estafa took place because the log home was assigned to the dacion en pago without any legal encumbrances.
However, Custodio, in the BCDA statement, said a CJHDevco joint rejoinder-affidavit submitted to the DOJ showed that “CJHDevco returned the P20-million purchase price paid by Sy only on May 18, the same day that Sy executed his affidavit in favor of Sobrepeña.”
“Obviously, this perjury complaint against [Casanova] is intended to derail BCDA’s efforts in holding CJHDevco accountable for its acts and omissions,” Custodio said. Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon
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