Gov’t studying options on Piatco
Malacañang on Thursday said it was not yet ready to comment on the Supreme Court ruling ordering the government to pay the Philippine International Air Terminals Company, Inc. (Piatco) some $510 million (about P23.9 billion) in just compensation for building Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) in Pasay City.
Palace officials still “need to verify the full implications of the high court’s decision with the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG),” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said.
“We also need to read and understand the decision as basis for making an informed comment,” he added.
“We’re still looking at our options,” Solicitor General Florin Hilbay told the Inquirer in a text message on Thursday.
Hilbay said the OSG had yet to officially receive a copy of the decision, a unanimous vote during the high court’s en banc session on Tuesday. He said he had only seen the online copy of the ruling.
Supreme Court spokesman Theodore Te said parties may seek the court’s reconsideration of its ruling.
In a 10-0 vote on Tuesday, the tribunal, however, allowed the state to continue operating the 63.5-hectare airport terminal, although Piatco remains its rightful owner until full payment of the compensation.
The decision, written by Associate Justice Arturo Brion, said that government “shall have ownership of Naia 3 (only) after it fully pays Piatco the just compensation due.”
Just compensation means paying the full and fair equivalent of the property being expropriated.
The court ruled that Piatco was the “lawful recipient of just compensation” and directed the government to pay interest as well on the facility’s assessed value even after it made an initial payment in 2006.
The 144-page ruling also junked the plea of contractors Takenaka and Asahikosan to get a share of the settlement as builders of the terminal.
The decision released on Wednesday represented the second stage of the Naia 3 expropriation, which had the court determining the “replacement cost,” or the amount the government should pay Piatco after factoring in the terminal’s depreciation as well as its maintenance and improvement costs.
The first phase became final in September 2006 when the state, in compliance with an earlier Supreme Court ruling on a related case, paid Piatco nearly $60 million (P2.79 billion) as initial payment for Naia 3 after securing a writ of possession to operate the terminal.
The latest high court decision amended the Court of Appeals’ earlier computation of the just compensation, which was pegged at $240.76 million, with legal interest of 6 percent.
The ruling fixed the principal amount at $267.49 million (P12.55 billion), with payment of $32.09 million (P1.506 billion) between September 2006 and June 2013 at 12-percent annual interest, and $16.04 million (P753.49 million) annually from July 2013, at the amended interest rate of 6 percent.
Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, along with Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Mariano del Castillo and Francis Jardeleza, did not take part in the voting. Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes was on leave.—Jerry E. Esplanada with Tarra Quismundo
Originally posted as of 8:56 PM | Thursday, September 11, 2015
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