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Sobrepeña camp denies squatting accusations

Posted on February 26, 2012 09:37:10 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]

SOBREPEÑA-led Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevco) yesterday denied accusations it was squatting on a site inside a Baguio economic zone, saying structures it built beyond its leased land were meant to be temporary.

This, after a criminal charge was filed against Robert John L. Sobrepeña and Enrique A. Sobrepeña, Jr., along with other officers of CJHDevco and Warbird Security and Investigation, for illegally occupying 600 square meters of land within the John Hay Special Economic Zone.

But for Alfredo R. Yñiguez III, CJHDevco chief operating officer: “BCDA seeks to deplete... [our] security forces to give it the opportunity to forcibly and illegally take over John Hay,” a statement read.

“Considering the importance of the sewage treatment plant and the fact that the Eco-Trail is a fairly isolated area, security facilities were erected there to help secure not only the facility but also the many John Hay visitors who walk through the Eco-Trail every day,” Mr. Yñiguez explained, referring to the facilities that were constructed on the disputed site.

“Setting up temporary security facilities in strategic locations within an area being secured is a standard practice in the security industry,” he continued.

Furthermore, Mr. Yñiguez denied the existence of residential homes and a farmhouse in the temporary facilities.

The lawsuit comes as CJHDevco is said to have failed to pay back some P3 billion in debt to BCDA for its lease at the ecozone.

Earlier, they had argued that a contract restructuring their debt to the BCDA should be voided after the state agency allegedly failed to fulfill its commitment to create a one-stop action center that would provide permits to ecozone locators that would have paid rent.

The BCDA, however, said that the office it set up has actually been issuing around 80 permits each year to CJHDevCo.

CJHDevco is managed by Fil-Estate Management, Inc., a joint venture of Bank of Commerce in trust for College Assurance Plan Philippines, Inc., CAP Annuity Plans & Pension Corp. and Northwood Resources Corp. -- Eliza J. Diaz

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