Camp John Hay locators, lessees may sue BCDA if evicted without being paid back rentals
LOCATORS and lessees in Camp John Hay may file a case against the Bases Conversion and Development Authority should they be forcibly evicted from the property by the government agency.
Camp John Hay Development Corp. executive vice president Alfredo Yñiguez III, in a statement issued by company counsel Gilbert Reyes, said the locators were protected under law as they have made their investments in good faith.
“It is possible for these investors to sue the BCDA if they are evicted since they are protected under the law and governed by the law of contracts and obligations,” Yñiguez said.
The property developer said the writ of execution and the notice to vacate issued by Baguio regional trial court Judge Cecilia Archog specifically stated that BCDA must first pay P1.42 billion it owed CJHDevCo.
Yñiguez pointed out that the payments made by the third party locators and lessees were credited in the Final Award as BCDA’s payment for the interest it owed.
“These locators are considered vested rights holders and were buyers in good faith,” he said.
Reyes said that BCDA benefited from the payments made by the various investors in Camp John Hay.
“BCDA used the investors’ hard-earned investments to discharge its obligation to pay interest to CJHDevCo. It, therefore, does not require too much imagination to see why it is plainly wrong for the BCDA to accept the benefit of using the investment of third parties to pay for its debt and in the same vein deny these investors the right to enjoy their investment,” he said.
“That would be unashamed, unjust enrichment by the BCDA, which now insists on having its cake and eating it too. Thus, if the BCDA insists on evicting the 1,600 plus investors in Camp John Hay, each and every investor may sue to enjoin their illegal eviction by the BCDA,” Reyes added.
Yñiguez said CJHDevCo has set up help desks for the locators who were being threatened by BCDA.
“We have a customer information lounge in Camp John Hay and also another in our office in Pasig City,” he added.
According to him, Judge Archog has made it clear in her order that the writ of execution must be implemented simultaneously, meaning that the Final Award rendered in the arbitration between CJHDevCo and BCDA will be “reciprocal in nature.”
“The judgment obligations are essentially, as termed in the vernacular, ‘kaliwaan.’ CJHDevCo vacates as and when it is paid by the BCDA in full,” Yñiguez said.
The court order also said that if the developer fulfilled its part but BCDA failed on its end, CJHDevCo might levy on properties of BCDA to satisfy the arbitral award.
“If … respondent (BCDA) cannot return all or part of the obligation, in cash, certified bank check or other mode of payment acceptable to the petitioner (CJHDevCo), you (the sheriff) shall levy upon the properties of respondent (BCDA) of every kind and nature whatsoever which may be disposed of for value and not otherwise exempt from execution,” Yñiguez quoted the judge’s order as saying.
He stressed that CJHDevCo would be “ready, willing and able to vacate the ‘leased premises’ immediately or simultaneous with its actual receipt of payment from BCDA” of the P1.42 billion.
“We also wish to emphasize that the Notice to Vacate is not directed at persons who acquired rights in ‘good faith’ such as the CJH golf club members, Manor & Forest Lodge condotel unit owners, Forest Cabin unit owners, Country Home owners, Log Home Owners, lot owners, residents, locators and investors. These persons acted in ‘good faith’, and invested in Camp John Hay by purchasing your property with the consent and knowledge, if not the inducement, of the BCDA,” Yñiguez said.
Such third parties, he added, “claim rights to remain in Camp John Hay in their own right and from BCDA’s acceptance of the benefit from their payments for the properties they purchased in Camp John Hay, which the BCDA must now respect.”
The writ of execution came after both BCDA and CJHDevCo filed the same petition for confirmation of the arbitral award, which called for the rescission of the original lease contract and subsequent related contracts due to mutual breach of both parties.
The arbitral tribunal also denied BCDA’s claim for back rentals against CJHDevCo for P3.3 billion after it was found guilty of committing serious breaches of its obligations under the lease contract, such as its clear failure to set up a functioning One Stop Action Center that would assist the developer in speedily processing required permits. SFM
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