The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the commercial interest of a business conglomerate despite its adverse impact on the armed forces, which have been disposing of properties to raise funds for its modernization program, the state-owned Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) said.
BCDA President and Chief Executive Officer Arnel Casanova said the Supreme Court Third Division has denied its motion for reconsideration of its appeal to open to competitive bidding the proposed sale of the 33.1 hectare Bonifacio South Pointe.
“We find the decision quite disturbing, considering that commercial interest has been prioritized over national security and the lives of the soldiers who defend and protect our country,” Casanova said.
BCDA questioned the unsolicited proposal of SM Land Inc (SMLI), subject to a Swiss Challenge, offering to buy the prime property in Pasig City for P38,500 per square meter. The appraised market value of the property range from P78,000 per square meter to P100,000 per square meter.
Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco ruled against BCDA’s motion for reconsideration despite a pending motion for intervention filed by the Department of National Defense and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Cassanova said the Court should have considered the safety and welfare of the soldiers over the commercial interest of SMLI and the Swiss Challenge requirement of an unsolicited proposal will not be to the best interest of the government.
“A Swiss Challenge will discourage the participation of other playhers because it creates a scenario where other players are playing catch up instead of being co-equals in a level playing field,” he said.
“The Velasco Division has made a final ruling without resolving the pending motion. It practically ignored the AFP and DND’s pending motion for intervention,” Cassanova said.
Cassanova said the government would lose P12 billion from the deal with SMLI and the armed forces, which will get 50 percent of the proceeds, stands to lose P6 billion.
“In light of the territorial dispute the country is facing in the West Philippine Sea, military hardware worth P6 billion will go a long way to protect and defend the country,” he said.
Associate Justice Marivic Leonen and Associate Justice Martin Villarama dissented.
“The public interest involved in this case is the P13 billion that the government stands to lose if it is forced to dispose respondent to dispose BCD-administered property at the price proposed by petitioner SMLI,” Leonen said.