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Taguig appeals CA ruling on Fort Boni

‘Our claim has been established by documentary, official documents’
/ 12:34 AM September 02, 2013

The city government of Taguig has asked the Court of Appeals to reconsider its earlier ruling handing back Fort Bonifacio to Makati City, saying its claim of ownership is superior to that of Makati.

In a motion for reconsideration filed at the appellate court on Thursday, the legal department of the Taguig City government reiterated its position that its claim was backed “by history.”

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“Taguig’s claim has been established by numerous documentary and official documents while Makati’s has been one characterized by numerous legal maneuvers and over-reliance on technicalities,” it said in its motion.

“[Our claim] precedes Makati as a political and corporate entity by decades. It has the weight of official authority behind it—in statutes, in proclamations, in public documents—while Makati can rely [only] on private writings and proclamations that expand the original terms of that which it sought to amend,” it added.

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Taguig, Makati and even the municipality of Pateros have been at odds as all of them are claiming jurisdiction over the revenue-rich area of Fort Bonifacio.

The two-decade boundary dispute was resolved recently by Associate Justice Marlene Gonzales-Sison of the Court of Appeals in Makati’s favor after she noted that Taguig was not able to prove “greater weight of evidence to merit a favorable decision.”

The ruling effectively placed seven barangays under Makati’s jurisdiction.

But Taguig officials are not prepared to give up just yet. Apart from the motion for reconsideration, they asked Sison to inhibit herself from the case because of her husband’s ties with Vice President Jejomar Binay, father of the city’s current mayor.

“We will not stop. Taguig will exhaust all legal remedies available to assert our ownership of Fort Bonifacio. I am confident that we will be vindicated in the end,” Mayor Lani Cayetano said in a statement e-mailed Sunday.

She added that the city would not stand for “a cloud of doubt” on the court’s impartiality in resolving the case.

Cayetano noted that they had presented maps, surveys and official documents to bolster the city’s claim of jurisdiction over Fort Bonifacio which was affirmed and reaffirmed by a Pasig regional trial court that conducted hearings on the case for almost 20 years before it was elevated to the Court of Appeals.

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She said she found it odd that within one and a half years, the appellate court overturned the lower court’s decision and ruled in favor of Makati.

Taguig officials earlier argued in their motion that the decision would “necessarily impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of residents and tens of thousands of business establishments,” at the Bonifacio Global City (BGC)—the city’s only financial district.

A substantial portion of Taguig’s annual budget of around P5 billion comes from BGC and goes to supporting the 28 barangays under its jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, Joey Salgado, head of Makati’s Information and Community Relations Department, challenged Taguig to present valid pieces of evidence to back up its case.

“We hope that Taguig can substantiate such a claim with evidence that will convince the court that the documents it had submitted are not fake or dubious,” he said.

The boundary dispute has become a “war of tarpaulins” between the two city government units.

Posters and banners hung on lampposts can be seen displayed at BGC containing messages that boast that Taguig has “lower taxes, no number coding, better public service and no corrupt practices.”

Last week, a faceoff between Taguig’s civilian enforcers and the Makati police took place when the former took down a poster which read “Welcome to BGC, Makati.”

“We appeal to Taguig officials not to harass and intimidate the BGC business community. The proper venue is in the courts, not on lamppost banners and stickers in stores,” Salgado said.

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TAGS: appellate court, Court of Appeals, Fort Boni, Fort Bonifacio, Jejomar Binay, Junjun Binay, Lani Cayetano, Marlene Gonzales-Sison, Taguig City
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