Tiny Pateros won’t give up fight for big pie Fort Boni
The local government of Pateros has brought its ownership battle over the Fort Bonifacio business hub to the Court of Appeals, insisting that a lower court erred when it dismissed its claim last year.
Officials of the last remaining municipality in Metro Manila filed on Friday a 23-page appeal asking the CA to reverse and set aside the resolution issued by Judge Paz Esperanza Cortes of Pasig Regional Trial Court– Branch 271 on May 10, 2013.
In the petition, Pateros also asked that the Pasig judge be ordered to reopen proceedings.
Citing unmet requirements concerning border issues among local governments, Cortes then dismissed Pateros’ case against the other Fort Bonifacio claimants, the neighboring cities of Makati and Taguig.
“We have concrete evidence to prove that Fort Bonifacio is ours, but we haven’t presented it yet since the trial court wrongly ruled that we failed to follow the procedure in settling boundary disputes,” said Dominador Rosales, a former Pateros councilor who now represents the local government in the CA action.
In her 2013 resolution, Cortes junked Pateros’ bid to retake the 461-hectare business district plus seven “former barrios” allotted for military personnel, namely Cembo, South Cembo, West Rembo, East Rembo, Comembo, Pembo and Pitogo.
It also tossed out Pateros’ demand that it get the revenues the two other cities had earned from the area since Makati took over the seven barangays in 1986 and Taguig took over what is now the upscale Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in 1992.
The judge ruled that Pateros failed to follow procedures outlined in the Local Government Code: Filing a complaint-resolution addressed to the Taguig and Makati’s city councils, forming a hearing committee in which the three cities are represented, and reaching a decision whether to have an amicable settlement or not.
Going to the CA, Pateros disputed the RTC judge’s findings, saying it earnestly tried to work for a resolution with the two other cities. The municipal council did send a complaint-resolution to the Makati city council, which acknowledged it in 2009, the petition stressed.
A similar complaint-resolution was sent to Taguig but the recipient city did not reply, it recalled.
Eventually, talk of any amicable settlement collapsed, with Makati withdrawing and Taguig not responding, the petition said, adding that both should be blamed for the failure of the dispute settlement process.
“Appellant (Pateros) could not do anything but exercise judicial recourse rather than lose its right to recover [Fort Bonifacio] because appellant has no authority over the appellees (Makati and Taguig) to compel them to comply with the provision of the Local Government Code and its implementing rules and regulations,” it said.
Taguig and Makati are themselves still locked in a court battle over the control of BGC.
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