by Catherine Pillas – February 13, 2015
BASES Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) executives are asking tenants and sublessees in Camp John Hay (CJH) to coordinate with the state-owned firm after the CJH Development Corp. (CJHDevco) was told to vacate the property.
“With the decision of the original lease agreement [with CJHDevco] rescinded and since all their contracts are subleases, then those [contracts] would be legally affected and therefore [tenants] should come to the BCDA, now the owner of the land,” BCDA President Arnel Paciano D. Casanova said in a news conference with reporters on Friday.
“The right of a sublessee emanates from the original lease. Since the original lease has been rescinded, the rights of the sublessees are put into question, so we’re encouraging them to coordinate with the BCDA so we can properly evaluate the situation,” Casanova added.
The arbitral committee of the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center recently ruled in favor of the BCDA in its bid to terminate the contract of CJHDevco and to collect its debt in lease payments.
In its unanimous decision, the said committee decided that the original lease agreement is terminated and ordered CJHDevco to vacate the leased premises and deliver the leased property, including new constructions and permanent improvements introduced during the period of the lease, to the BCDA.
According to the opinion of one of the arbitrators and lawyer Teodoro Kalaw IV, CJHDevco should pay rentals in arrears to the BCDA to the tune of P2.4 billion.
“All the previous buyers and locators should coordinate immediately with BCDA so we could assess the kind of relationships they have with CJHDevco,” Casanova said.
The BCDA estimates there are 118 business enterprises, including restaurants, retail and other services, including business-process outsourcing offices in the property with 384 hotel rooms in the Forest Lodge. There are also 85 residential structures in CJH area.
The tribunal, however, also stated in one section of its decision that the BCDA return the amount of P1.4 billion, representing the total amount of rentals initially paid by CJHDevco to the BCDA. On this point, the BCDA is seeking further clarification from the court and aired the possibility of contesting the provision.
The judgment of the tribunal directing the BCDA to return the P1.4 billion; the court was not unanimous on that point.
There is a strong, separate opinion and this gives the BCDA the opportunity to ask the court to look into this,” said Peter Paul Andrew Flores, officer in charge of the BCDA legal services department.
Flores, also a lawyer, said they will seek a judicial confirmation from the Regional Trial Court in Baguio City to uphold the first part of the decision, the part directing CJHDevco to vacate the property and turn over all improvements on the site promptly.