BCDA slams developer’s bid to delay eviction

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PRIVATE developer Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevCo) is using its subsidiaries and affiliates to act as innocent sublessees to delay its eviction from the 247-hectare former American recreational facility in Baguio City, the state-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) said.

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The Court of Appeals’ Special Fifth Division on Thursday heard the motion for intervention of Camp John Hay Golf Club and the CAP John Hay Trade and Cultural Center on the petition filed by CJHDevCo, which sought to prevent the BCDA from executing the arbitration panel’s decision to evict third-party sub lessees in John Hay.

At the hearing, the court issued a status quo order preventing the BCDA from evicting CJHDevCo from the recreational facility.

“John Hay Golf Club and the CAP Trade Center are actually trying to mislead the court to believe that they are innocent sublessees,” BCDA president and CEO Arnel Paciano Casanova said.

The golf club and the CAP-JHTCC are owned and managed by the same officers and shareholders of the evicted consortium led by businessman and dealmaker Robert Sobrepeña.

The Rules of Court provides that “a person who is so situated as to be adversely affected by a distribution or other disposition of property in the custody of the court or of an officer thereof may be allowed to intervene in the action.”

The BCDA chief said the so-called intervenors have been aware all the time of the dispute with the BCDA and the arbitration proceedings.

“It is a ploy to stall the execution of a court order [of eviction],” Casanova said.

“And while at it, CJHDevCo continues to profit and collect payments from the unsuspecting public using John Hay facilities without any obligation to the national government,” he added.

CJHDevCo has no authority to operate in John Hay because there is no longer an existing contract between BCDA and CJHDevCo, BCDA said.

“The public should not fall victim to this kind of scheme by CJHDevCo,” warned the BCDA chief.

He recalled that the College Assurance Plan, which was also led by Sobrepeña, had defaulted on its obligations to thousands of plan holders after a prolonged legal row.

“The BCDA will not honor advance payments made to CJHDevCo, its subsidiaries and affiliates,” Casanova clarified, adding that based on the writ of execution issued by the court, the BCDA will eventually take full possession of CJHDevCo’s leased premises and properties.

There are reportedly 1,600 third party sub lessees but only those businesses directly controlled or connected to the evicted developer have come out in public to become “intervenors” to the case.

The BCDA head noted that several third party sub lessees not connected to CJHDevCo, which he considers as “partners in the future development of John Hay,” continue to renegotiate with the BCDA.

Casanova reiterated that CJHDevCo has contractual obligations to sub lessees and urged the latter to sue CJHDevCo for the refund of payments already made but will most likely not be completely delivered because of the eviction order.

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