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Estafa added to string of suits versus CJHDevco

Posted on March 11, 2012 10:28:48 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]

STATE-RUN Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) has added an estafa complaint to the string of lawsuits it has filed against Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevco), this time for the double sale of property in Baguio City leased to the Sobrepeña-led firm.

The agency, which manages the John Hay Special Economic Zone, filed on Friday the estafa case for selling a certain Log Home No. 9, a statement on Saturday showed.

The property had been part of CJHDevco’s payment-in-kind for their rental debt to BCDA under a financial arrangement brokered in 2008 to ease the debt burden of the real estate developer.

“It appears that CJHDevco is involved in fraudulent business practice,” said Arnel Paciano D. Casanova, BCDA president and chief executive officer (CEO), in a statement.

“We have asked CJHDevco several times to open its books to shed light on the non-remittance of the dacion en pago properties, but the Sobrepeña group has refused repeatedly, despite numerous follow-up letters we sent them. There is obviously a lack of transparency in the financial transactions of CJHDevco,” he added.

Last month, BCDA also sued the lessee, together with its security agency, for squatting inside the ecozone.

Warbird Security and Investigation allegedly put up a kennel for their canine unit and rooster farmhouse and allowed some employees and their families to live near the industrial park’s sewerage treatment facility.

CJHDevco later denied the charges claiming that setting up outposts in strategic locations is standard practice in the security industry.

BCDA is currently awaiting payment from the private company for its P3-billion debt since it rental payments were suspended in 2003 following a Supreme Court decision stripping the Camp John Hay ecozone of its ability to grant tax incentives.

The agency is also waiting for a Baguio City regional trial court to decide on the next course of action after a judge approved in February a temporary restraining order against BCDA’s alleged plan to take over CJHDevco’s leased properties. The firm manages the Camp John Hay Manor Hotel among others.

CJHDevco is managed by Fil-Estate Management, Inc., whose stakeholders include the Bank of Commerce in trust for College Assurance Plan Philippines, Inc. -- Eliza J. Diaz
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