Court Confirms PDRCI Award for Sobrepena- LED CJHdevCo to Vacate Camp John Hay

Court Confirms PDRCI Award for Sobrepena-LED CJHdevCo to Vacate Camp John Hay

April 11, 2015

The Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 6 of Baguio City has confirmed the Final Award of the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center Inc. (PDRCI) for the Sobrepeña-led Camp John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevCo) to vacate the Camp John Hay and and promptly deliver the leased property, inclusive of all new constructions and permanent improvements in tenantable condition to the state-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

BCDA President and CEO Arnel Paciano D. Casanova lauded the decision of the Baguio RTC as a step towards recovering Camp John Hay and ending CJHDevCo’s exploitation of the former US rest and recreation facility.

“Finally, a delinquent lessee will be evicted and BCDA will be able to recover a public property and make the property really benefit the country particularly the people of Baguio,” Casanova said. He added that “we are also making business accountable by ending impunity in Camp John Hay.”

The seven-page order penned by Acting Presiding Judge Cecilia Corazon S. Dulay-Archog also confirmed, as part of the PDRCI final award, for the BCDA to return to CJHDevCo the amount of P1.42-B which the CJHDevCo paid to the BCDA as lease payments.

“We are ready to pay the P1.42 billion. All that we are waiting for now is the Writ of Execution to be issued by the Baguio RTC,” Casanova said.

For his part, BCDA head for legal services lawyer Peter Paul Andrew T. Flores said the Baguio RTC confirmed the PDRCI Final Award unconditionally.

The Sobrepeña-led CJHDevCo claims that BCDA should pay them the P1.42 billion as a condition for the former to vacate the leased properties and return it to BCDA. This however is not case. “The PDRCI Final Award is not conditional, meaning one is not a prerequisite of the other,” Flores said.

He also said that the Court Order means that CJHDevCo should deliver to BCDA all the structures in tenantable conditions which means it should be vacant and BCDA should be able to lease it out,” Flores said.
He said the claim of CJHDevCo for an appointment of a commissioner to oversee and supervise the turnover of the property has been denied.
Flores added that the other claim of CJHDevCo for the condinational delivery of structures that are in their possesion has also been denied.

He noted that Court Order included an Entry of Judgement which means that CJHDevCo can not file a Motion for Recosideration (MR).
Flores called on the sublessees and sub-locators in Camp John Hay to contact the BCDA or the John Hay Management Corporation (JHMC) Help Desk to be updated on the issues so that they can protect their rights and interests.

He cautioned the sublessees and sub-locators not to be misled by the Sobrepeña-led CJHDevCo on promised legal assistance.
He pointed out that the PDRCI Arbitral Tribunal’s Final Award ordering CJHDevCo to vacate and return the leased property to BCDA is binding on CJHDevCo’s subleases.

He cited the case of Guevara Realty Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-57469 where the Supreme Court has held: “A judgement of eviction against a lessee affects his sub-lessee, even if the latter are not sued in the ejectment case. This is so, because a sublessee can invoke no right superior to that of his sub-lessor, and the moment the latter is duly ousted from the premises, the former has no leg to stand on. The sublessees’ right, if any is to demand reparation for damages from his sub-lessor, should the latter be at fault. The sublessees can only assert such right of possession as could have been granted them by their sublessor, their right of possession depending entirely upon that of the latter.”

Flores said it is very clear based in the case cited and upheld by the Supreme Court, that sub-lessees can go after the Sobrepeña-led CJHDevCo and demand reparation of damages.

He also pointed out that CJHDevCo is misleading the sub-lessees by telling them that BCDA is aware of their contracts and should honor their contracts.

He cited the letter of CJHDevCo COO Alfredo R. Yniguez III to JHMC President and CEO Jamie Eloise Agbayani dated 11 November 2011 who said: “Owing to the nature of all these contracts which outline sensitive and confidential commercial, contractual and financial information, and which are not to be disclosed to anyone without the express written authorization of the parties involved, we regret to inform you that CJHDevCo is under no clear obligation to furnish JHMC such copies.”

Flores said CJHDevCo is liable to the sub-lessees. Under the laws on contracts, CJHDevCo must refund the payments that the sublessees paid.
“Being the party signatory to the contract with sub-lessees and being party who received payments from the buyers, CJHDevCo is liable to buyers under the law,” Flores said.

Earlier, Casanova advised the sub-lessees, sub-locators and buyers to seek legal counsel to ensure that their rights and interests will be protected. “The last thing we want to happen is for their contracts to be a worthless piece of paper like what happened with the College Assurance Plan (CAP).”

Casanova also urged the sub-lessees, sub-locators and buyers to run after the CJHDevCo. He said that the only way for the CJHDevCo’s victims to recover their investments and protect their interests is to lay claim to the P1.42-B that the BCDA will be returning to CJHDevCo.
CJHDevCo is chaired by Robert John Sobrepeña, who also owns and manages the College Assurance Plan, the pre-need company known to have defaulted on its obligations to plan holders, and the Metro Rail Transit Development Corporation (MRTDevco)./BCDA-PR


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