Issue of February 4, 2018
     
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OPINION
 

2017
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Palace not meddling on CJHDC–BCDA row
by Rimaliza A. Opiña

The Office of the President does not have plans of intervening in the court case between the Bases Conversion and Development Authority and Camp John Hay Development Corporation.

Asked in a press conference in Baguio City on Thursday if Malacañang has explored the possibility of out of court talks to allow government to move forward with the development of the former American rest and recreation area, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said with the case already in court, government would only wait for a decision.

Upon his assumption as president of the BCDA, Vivencio Dizon ordered an inventory of lawsuits of his office, most of which happened during the tenure of former president Arnel Casanova.

Dizon said the long-drawn court case with CJHDevCo has affected development in Camp John Hay with potential investors withholding their plans pending the Supreme Court’s ruling on the case of CJH homeowners and business owners who were evicted as a result of the court’s enforcement of an arbitration ruling that said both the BCDA and CJHDevCo violated the 1996 contract in the development of CJH.

The ruling ordered CJHDevCo to leave CJH but it also ordered BCDA to return to the developer P1.4 billion for its investments. The ruling also ruled that CJHDevCo does not owe BCDA almost P3.3B.

While the case is pending, CJHDevCo continues to operate at the CJH, while BCDA has yet to pay the developer’s investments.

More than a year ago, CJHDevCo expressed willingness to return to the negotiating table with the BCDA in a bid to pursue the development of the former American base into a world-class recreation facility.

CJHDevCo Chairman Robert John Sobrepeña that CJHDevCo is ready to turn over the developed areas of Camp John Hay once the government through BCDA has complied to pay P1.4B with the developer as ordered by the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center Inc.

“From that, we can sit down and see what is for the best interest of parties,” Sobrepeña said.


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