THE state-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) on Thursday advised the public not to transact any business with the Sobrepeña-led Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJH DevCo).
The BCDA explained that CJH DevCo’s lease contract in the John Hay Special Economic Zone (JHSEZ), more popularly known as Camp John Hay, has already been rescinded since February, making any transaction with CJH DevCo questionable.
The agency expressed its concerns through a Notice to the Public that stated: “It has come to the information of the BCDA that CJH DevCo continues to impose assessments and charges on all activities within Camp John Hay even after the Final Award rescinding its lease.”
The lease agreement of CJH DevCo was rescinded by virtue of a final award rendered in arbitration under the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center Inc. (PDRCI). The final award was also confirmed by Branch 6 of the Regional Trial Court of Baguio.
As a result. CJH DevCo was divested of its authority to manage and administer the John Hay Special Economic Zone.
The BCDA further said: “The public is hereby cautioned against signing any contract and/or making any payment to CJH DevCo, its officers or employees for the purpose of or in connection with the use of Camp John Hay or any of its facilities after the 11 February 2015 rescission of the Camp John Hay Lease such as but not limited to: special assessments, project assessments, common usage services assessments [CUSA], transfer fees, rental fees and the like.”
Last June, the Special 5th Division of the Court of Appeals, through a resolution, ordered that: “In the interim, CJH Development Corporation shall not enter into any new contracts with third parties and perform any action that would contravene the tenor of the arbitral award.”
“CJH DevCo has admitted as much in its letter dated 10 June 2015 informing its sublessees that it had changed its status to a VAT Registered Enterprise because the ‘rescission of the lease contract between BCDA and CJHDevCo as ordered in the Final Award,” the BCDA said.
With the rescission of the lease agreement, CJH DevCo can no longer avail of tax incentives offered by the John Hay Special Economic Zone. This led CJH DevCo to change its status to a VAT-Registered Enterprise.
At present, CJH DevCo has no authority to operate in the JHSEZ because there is no longer an existing contract between BCDA and CJH DevCo and latter has not been issued a permit by the John Hay Management Corp. (JHMC), the BCDA said.
Last February, the Arbitral Tribunal of the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center Inc. came out with its decision ordering CJH DevCo to vacate Camp John Hay and promptly deliver the leased property, inclusive of all new constructions and permanent improvements, to the BCDA.
The ruling also ordered the BCDA to return to CJH DevCo the amount of P1.42 billion that the firm paid as lease payments.
In April, the Baguio Regional Trial Court issued an order confirming the Final Award without any conditions.
The BCDA placed the amount of P1.42 billion in escrow as agreed with CJH DevCo during the February 2015 hearing. CJH DevCo has filed a petition with the Commission on Audit for the release of the P1.4 billion.