BCDA Wins over CJHDevCO in arbitration

The arbitration committee has ordered CJH Development Corporation (CJHDevco) to vacate Camp John Hay and return the property to the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) in a decision dated February 11, 2015.

“We see this as a victory for government. Finally it will be returned and it can now be developed for the benefit of the public,” BCDA president and chief executive officer Arnel Paciano D. Casanova said.

“However, we are studying the decision and weighing our legal options. While it is good that the property will be returned to government, it is not just that government will not be compensated for CJHDevco’s use of the facility for over a decade and for which it has earned billions.”

CJHDevco has not been paying the BCDA its lease rentals and its arrears have ballooned to over P3.4 billion, 25 percent of which should have been for the local government of Baguio.

The tribunal, chaired by Atty. Mario E. 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.”

In a separate opinion, co-arbitrator Teodoro Kalaw IV said CJHDevco should pay rentals in arrears amounting to P2.4 billion.

Kalaw said : “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 Two Billion Four Hundred Six Million One Hundred Forty Thousand Five Hundred Twenty Five Pesos (PHP 2,406,140,525.00).”

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…”