Arbitration calls for orderly transition
The court-ordered arbitration committee has commanded the Sobrepena-controlled CJH Development Corp. (CJHDevco) to vacate Camp John Hay and return the property to the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).
The arbitration committee made up of Mario E. Valderrama, Teodoro Kalawa IV and Rogelio C. Nicandro in a decision dated Feb 11, 2015 called for the orderly transition for the country’s prime resort development.
BCDA President and Chief Executive Officer Arnel Paciano Casanova said : “This is as a victory for the government. Finally it will be returned and we can now develop it for the benefit of the public.”
The BCDA also called on investors in Camp John Hay to work with it for the proper development of the former US military facility.
“Whatever agreement they entered into with CJHDevco no longer applies because their subleases have been terminated with the principal lease,” he said.
CJHDevco has not been paying the BCDA lease rentals and arrears have ballooned to over P3.4 billion, 25 percent of which or P850 million should have gone to the local governments of Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay.
Casanova said that BCDA will still run after CJHDevco to pay for the use of the facility for over a decade and for which it has earned billions.
Valderrama, said “since it cannot be determined which of the parties first violated the 2008 RMOA, such is hereby deemed extinguished due to the mutual breach of the same by both parties…the termination by respondent of the original lease agreement is hereby confirmed in view of the breach of the same by claimant: the claimant is ordered to vacate the leased premises and promptly deliver the leased property, inclusive of all new constructions and permanent improvements introduced during the term of the lease as reckoned from the execution of the original lease agreement to respondent in good and tenantable condition in all respects, reasonable wear and tear excepted.”
Co-arbitrator Teodoro Kalaw IV said CJHDevco should pay rentals in arrears amounting to P2.4 billion.
“Claimant has expressly acknowledged to owe respondent at the time of the execution of the 2008 RMOA on 1 July 2008, in the amount of Php 2.4 billion,” Kalaw said.
In a decision dated September 30, 2014, the Court of Appeals agreed with the BCDA’s position that “it is the public that suffers for the failure of CJHDevco to fulfill its obligations . . .”
“CJHDevco has been ordered to vacate the property and they should do so immediately. We want to ensure the security in Camp John Hay and prevent sabotage, pilferage and the destruction of property,” Casanova said.
“While we see this as a breakthrough, we are duty bound to pursue our monetary claims because 25 percent of our earnings from Camp John Hay is meant for its stakeholders,” Casanova said.