• SC sides with BCDA, rejects Novai petition

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    The Supreme Court (SC) has favored the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) with regard to ownership of a disputed 47-hectare property in Fort Bonifacio also claimed by a group of retired military officials.

    In a statement, the BCDA said the high court had issued a two-page notice denying the Navy Officers’ Village Association Inc.’s (Novai) motion for reconsideration “with finality.”

    “Acting on petitioner’s motion for reconsideration of the decision dated August 3, 2015, which denied the petition for review on certiorari, the court further resolves to deny the motion with finality, the basic issues raise therein having been duly considered and passed upon the court. . . . ” the notice read.

    The high court last year upheld an appellate court decision granting ownership of the property to the BCDA.

    BCDA President and Chief Executive Officer Arnel Paciano D. Casanova said the ruling would benefit the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and help fund government projects.

    “With the Supreme Court ruling, the BCDA can now proceed in disposing the 47-hectare property and generate billions of pesos to fund the AFP Modernization Program and bankroll government programs and projects,” Casanova said.

    Casanova is keen on selling the 47-hectare property inside the former Fort Andres Bonifacio Military Reservation (FBMR), either wholesale or by parcel. The lot was said to be now worth over P47 billion based on a current selling price of about P100,000 per square meter.

    The BCDA president said the favorable ruling was in line with the administration’s “Daang Matuwid” vision, claiming the case involved land grabbing by officers that was detrimental to AFP morale.

    “As early as 2004 and as general counsel (to the Novai case) then, I made a commitment to the Feliciano Commission that I will do my best to pursue the cases against Southside Homeowners Association (SHAI) and Novai in spite of some generals who kept on dissuading us from doing so,” Casanova said.

    The Feliciano Commission was a fact-finding body created to address the concerns of soldiers involved in the July 2003 Oakwood mutiny. Among others, it called for legal action to recover the JUSMAG and Novai properties.

    In September 2006, the SC ruled in favor of the BCDA in a case against military officers occupying quarters inside the JUSMAG area in Fort Bonifacio. The former JUSMAG area has since been developed and is now known as McKinley West.

    The BCDA is mandated to turn privatize former military bases to help finance government projects and mostly provide funds for the modernization of the AFP.

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