Court rules Sobrepeña camp to vacate Camp John Hay
MANILA, Philippines – The Baguio Regional Trial Court (RTC) affirmed the order for The Robert John Sobrepeña-led Camp John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevCo) to vacate Camp John Hay.
An arbitration committee earlier ordered CJHDevco to vacate Camp John Hay in Baguio City and return the property to the state-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA). BCDA is the government agency mandated to develop Camp John Hay, a former US facility.
The 7-page order penned by Acting Presiding Judge Cecilia Corazon S. Dulay-Archog also confirmed, as part of the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center Incorporated (PDRCI) final award, that the CJHDevCo promptly deliver the leased property, inclusive of all new constructions and permanent improvements in tenantable condition to the BCDA.
The court also ordered BCDA to return to CJHDevCo the amount of P1.42-billion ($31.93 million) which the CJHDevCo paid to the BCDA as lease payments.
BCDA President and Chief Executive Officer Arnel Paciano D. Casanova lauded the decision as a step toward recovering Camp John Hay and ending CJHDevCo's exploitation of the former US rest and recreation facility.
"Finally, a delinquent lessee will be evicted and BCDA will be able to recover a public property and make the property really benefit the country, particularly the people of Baguio," Casanova said.
He added that BCDA is also making the business accountable by ending impunity in Camp John Hay and that BCDA is ready to pay the P1.42 billion ($31.93 million).
“All that we are waiting for is the Writ of Execution to be issued by the Baguio RTC," Casnaova said.
BCDA head for legal services lawyer Peter Paul Andrew T. Flores said the Baguio RTC confirmed the PDRCI Final Award unconditionally, meaning the P1.42 billion ($31.93 million) that BCDA would pay CJHDevCo is not a condition for the Sobrepeña-led firm to vacate the leased properties.
"The PDRCI final award is not conditional, meaning one is not a prerequisite of the other," Flores said.
Flores added that the court order means CJHDevCo should deliver to BCDA all the structures in tenantable conditions which means it should be vacant and BCDA should be able to lease it out.
CJHDevCo’s request for an appointment of a commissioner to oversee and supervise the turnover of the property was denied, Flores said.
CJHDevCo request for the conditional delivery of structures that are in their possession was also denied, Flores added.
The court order included an entry of judgement which means that CJHDevCo cannot file a motion for recosideration.
Flores called on the sub-lessees and sub-locators in Camp John Hay to contact the BCDA or the John Hay Management Corporation (JHMC) Help Desk to be updated on the issues so that they can protect their rights and interests.
Earlier, Casanova advised the sub-lessees, sub-locators, and buyers to seek legal counsel to ensure that their rights and interests will be protected.
Casanova also urged the sub-lessees, sub-locators and buyers to run after the CJHDevCo. He said that the only way for the CJHDevCo's victims to recover their investments and protect their interests is to lay claim to the P1.42-billion ($31.93 million) that the BCDA will be returning to CJHDevCo. – Rappler.com
$1 = P44.47