BCDA asks court: Eject John Hay developer
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines—The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) has asked a Baguio court to enforce an arbitration ruling, a week after Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevco), the developer of the former John Hay Air Station, filed a similar petition on March 6.
The Feb. 11 ruling of a tribunal formed by the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center (PDRC) resolved the BCDA’s contractual dispute with CJHDevco.
In a March 13 petition, the BCDA urged Judge Cecilia Corazon Dulay-Archog of the Baguio Regional Trial Court to confirm the PDRC decision, said Jamie Eloise Agbayani, president of the BCDA-owned John Hay Management Corp. (JHMC), which oversees the John Hay Special Economic Zone.
Earlier, CJHDevco, owned by businessman Robert John Sobrepeña, asked Archog to enforce the ruling and to stipulate that all contracts inside the zone should be honored.
Archog directed CJHDevco and the BCDA to undergo arbitration, following a public spat in 2011.
The PDRC tribunal concluded that both the BCDA and CJHDevco violated the 1996 lease development contract that required Sobrepeña’s firm to convert 247 hectares of Camp John Hay into a tourism estate.
As a result, the arbiters directed the developer to return the leased area to the government. The PDRC also required the BCDA to reimburse CJHDevco the sum of P1.42 billion representing its rent.
The arbitration ruling is binding but it can only be executed upon the confirmation of the court.
However, the BCDA asked the court to first eject CJHDevco from Camp John Hay, BCDA president Arnel Paciano Casanova said on Tuesday. The payment of the reimbursement stipulated by the PDRC may follow after the former base land is returned to the BCDA, he said.
But in a March 11 news briefing here, Sobrepeña said CJHDevco would continue to operate the leased area until the court directed BCDA to release the company’s reimbursement.
He said CJHDevco was ready to turn over the leased area at the direction of an administrator to be appointed by the court. CJHDevco requested for the administrator to oversee a smooth turnover, he said. Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon
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