May 20, 2012 in Baguio City
By ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
BAGUIO CITY — The Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) terminates its lease agreement with Club John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevco), which is presently developing the former American recreation facility.
Accusing CJHDevco to have breached their agreement which involved disloyal, dishonest, fraudulent and self-dealing conduct, BCDA also terminated their lease agreement on May 15 with CJHDevco and served the order at the latter’s corporate office at the Camp John Hay Special Economic Zone in this city.
Aside from the lease termination, BCDA said it will exhaust all means to collect the three billion pesos of unpaid rentals CJHDevco owed since 1997.
In his talk with local media practitioners at the Hill Station at the Camp John Hay, BCDA Pres. and CEO Arnel Casanova said that they will exhaust all legal means available to collect the unpaid rentals and restructured obligations of CJHDevco which totals to P3,007,712,654 as of the end April 2012.
“I appeal to the media and residents of Baguio City to help us in our effort,” Casanova said. He said that P750 million of the total three billion will go to the city as its share from the obligations of CJHDevco.
Asked if BCDA can give the share of the city as it is already long overdue, he said that the share is hinged on the collection of the amount from the CJHDevco.
He told media that they had also filed various cases against the CJHDevco, including estafa and anti-squatting cases.
CJHDevco allegedly tried to offer a compromised settlement to BCDA but the latter found such proposal as unacceptable. “The supposed compromise that CJHDevco offered on May 15, was unacceptable because it required the writing off of the lessee’s debts from 1997 to 2011.
The proposed settlement also seeks to change the bid terms and extend the lease contract until 2061. This is grossly disadvantageous to the government,” said Casanova, in an earlier press release.
“It is clear from the very beginning that CJHDevco had no intention to pay the contracted amounts, and the restructuring it sought from BCDA were purely designed to delay or evade the payment of rentals and the performance of its development obligations,” he added in the press release.
Termination of lease agreement
Allegedly due to the violations of their lease agreement, Casanova signed on May 15 a notice which terminated the agreement that it entered with CJHDevco.
The termination letter, addressed to Mr. Ferdinand T. Santos and Mr. Robert John L. Sobrepena, the CJHDevco president and CEO, respectively, stated: “This is to give you notice that effective immediately, the BCDA is terminating the lease agreement dated 19 October 1996 and the restructuring memorandum of agreement dated 1 July 2008 because of your material and incurable breaches of your contractual obligations.”
Illegal lease termination
An officer of the CJHDevco claimed before national media that the termination of the lease agreement as baseless.
“The act of Casanova (in terminating the lease agreement) was arbitrary and without basis, using accusations instead of facts as basis to terminate a valid and binding contract that cannot be terminated without following proper procedure,” said CJHDevco executive vice president and chief operating officer Alfredo Yniguez.
“We have paid BCDA a total amount of P1.4 billion, been diligent with our payments. In fact, in an act of good faith and to amicably settle all pending disputes, CJHDevco reached out to BCDA to settle the on-going impasse and even offered to pay P 500 million and presented another proposal that should generate almost P13 billion in revenues for BCDA,” added Yniguez in a media statement.
Earlier on April 27, Judge Cleto Villacorta of the Regional Trial Court here granted the injunction being sought by CJHDevco to stop the take-over being pushed by BCDA over the area covered by the lease agreement.
BCDA claimed earlier that the order directed CJHDevco to post P 736 million bond as a pre-requisite for the injunction that the latter sought.
Meanwhile, the growing sentiments of people in the city include the call that local officials do their duty to get the city’s share from lease of John Hay; that the area should be returned instead to the people of Baguio; and, that ancestral land rights over the area should also be addressed. # nordis.net