Baguio realtor dares BCDA
to submit to arbitration
A developer has urged the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) to comply with the order of the Baguio City regional trial court for it to submit to arbitration for resolution of all disputes involving the development of the 247 hectare of the former American base it had leased to the Camp John Hay Development Co. (CJHDevCo).
“The BCDA, being a government agency, must now submit itself to the rule of law and refrain from taking further steps to take over or seize control of the leased premises from CJHDevCo,” CJHDevCo spokesman lawyer Manuel Ubarra Jr. said.
Ubarra also warned the BCDA against receiving payment from any locators and sub-lessees, as the court’s injunctive order prevented the takeover of the leased property in John Hay Special Economic Zone.
“BCDA is now under notice that its earlier call for locators to pay directly to it and not to CJHDevCo is illegal and in violation of the court order. The BCDA call constitutes seizing or wrestling control of the leased premises from CJHDevCo,” the developer stressed.
Meanwhile, Ubarra assailed BCDA president Arnel Paciano Casanova for rejecting the CJHDevCo’s lease rental offer, without first looking at their proposal.
“If he bothered to listen first to the proposal, it contained an offer of payment of P150 million upon the approval in writing of the proposal and another P350 million in the next 12 months. That’s a total of P500 million for the government and the City of Baguio if only BCDA bothered to listen first to the proposal,” he said.
Prior to this proposal, CJHDevCo also made written offers to BCDA on various dates in 2011. In particular, CJHDevCo sent letters dated Aug. 16, 2011, Sept. 20, 2011 and Oct. 7, 2011, all offering to make payments on the rent due.
“However, BCDA simply ignored said proposals and did not act on it. The unexplained and unjustified inaction by the BCDA board became the basis for filing criminal charges for violation of various penal statutes against it,” Ubarra pointed out.
On top of that, he added, the BCDA’s media statements (that CJHDevCo’s lease was only for 25 years, various Notices to the Public and libellous newspaper articles) have only caused discord and fear between the clients, sub-lessees of CJHDevCo and itself.
“On the issue of unpaid rent, BCDA is engaging in double talk. CJHDevCo is current in its rental obligations BCDA. In fact, CJHDevCo honored the contract and even agreed to several substantial concessions, including the assumption of accumulated rental obligations amounting to P2.69 billion in exchange for BCDA’s undertaking that it would establish an effective mechanism that would facilitate CJHDevCo’s development of the Camp John Hay Special Economic Zone and enable it to meet its massive financial obligations. Otherwise, CJHDevCo could have refused to acknowledge such outrageous and invalid lease rentals,” he explained.
The CJHDevCo executive also disputed the reference by the BCDA of P2.9 billion in rental arrears from 2003 to 2008 because BCDA was in default during this period. The BCDA also failed in its warranties, not giving Special Economic Zone Benefits to CJHDevCo from 2003 to 2007 and its “30-day guaranty” on the issuance of all local and national permits for CJHDevCo projects from 2008 onwards, he said.
“As admitted by their legal counsels and attested to by their various press statements, even if CJHDevCo pays the rent that BCDA is demanding, BCDA still wants CJHDevCo out of the leased premises. Therefore, this is not really about the alleged unpaid rent. The alleged rent issue is merely being used as a convenient excuse by BCDA to cancel its lease agreement with CJHDevCo. BCDA wants to remove CJHDevCo even before the expiration of the lease period and either runs by itself the businesses established by the blood and sweat of officers and employees of CJHDevCo or award it to another entity. Any way you look at it, public good is not served,” Ubarra stressed. Benjamin B. Pulta
1 killed, 3 hurt by lightning bolt
A lightning bolt killed a 16-year-old boy and wounded three others in Nagcarlan Laguna, the police said.
Dimzel Suazo, 16, was declared dead on arrival by the Nagcarlan District Hospital, while his cousins Jervin Villanueva, 16, Robert Gregorio, 21 and Rolando Javier, 17, sustained burns in different parts of their bodies.
Nagcarlan Police Chief Insp. Jesson Bombasi said the victims were atop a santol tree picking fruits in Barangay Maravilla, despite the heavy downpour.
Suddenly lighting struck, causing the victims to fall off the tree 20 feet to the ground. One of the victims was able to seek help from a village watchman, who took them to the hospital. Efren B. Chavez