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John Hay slams ‘smear campaign’

Thursday, 26 April, 2012 Written by Rey E. Requejo
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Camp John Hay Development Corp. on Wednesday took to task officials of the Bases Conversion Development Authority for resorting to a “smear campaign” instead of complying with its contractual obligations under the 2008 “Restructuring Memorandum of Agreement.

CJHDevco executive vice president and chief operating officer Alfredo Yñiguez said the company’s actions against BCDA for “breaches and failures” of contract are based on solid legal grounds.

“All leasehold titles and contracts with CJHDEVCO to date are valid,” he said in a statement. “CJHDevco challenges BCDA to adhere to the rule of law by laying its claims before the courts and Philippine Dispute Resolution Center instead of engaging in a smear campaign against CJHDevco and its Chairman & CEO, Mr. Robert John L. Sobrepeña.”

Yñiguez called on the state-owned agency to face the issues under existing agreements.

“Time and time again, BCDA has refused to submit itself for arbitration,” he said, referring to its complaint for arbitration against BCDA seeking to confirm the validity of its decision to rescind last Jan. 9, 2012 its 2008 RMOA due to BCDA’s alleged “failures and breaches,” including the agency’s non-compliance of its obligation to set up the “One-Stop Action Center” that would facilitate development of the John Hay Special Economic Zone.

In its complaint filed before the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center, CJHDevco also asked the Arbitral Tribunal that in case amendment of the RMOA was unavailing, it should order the original lease agreement between CJHDevco and BCDA as “deemed rescinded,” and direct the agency to pay the John Hay developer P14.44 billion for actual damages and P15 million as cost of the suit.

In the compromise settlement with BCDA on July 1, 2008, CJHDevco agreed to several concessions, including the assumption of “prior rental obligations” amounting to more than P2.69 billion and current rental of P150 million all of which was not reciprocated.

In its Jan. 9, 2012 letter to BCDA  president and chief executive Arnel Casanova, CJHDevco demanded compliance, particularly the OSAC provision to speed up the economic zone’s construction and commercial operation.

Yniguez debunked insinuations of any rental arrear citing the agency’s lapses.

“We dispute the reference by BCDA to P2.9 billion rentals from 2003 to 2008 because BCDA was in default during this period,” he said. “BCDA also failed its warranties of giving Special Economic Zone Benefits to CJHDevco from 2003 to 2007 and its ‘30-day guaranty’ on issuance of all local and national permits for CJHDevco projects from 2008 onwards.”

Yñiguez said P1.44 billion has been paid BCDA despite a 5-year impasse amid the  culpable delay in the issuance of building and occupancy permits needed by the developer for it to operate.

“To date, we have about 39 unanswered applications for permits pending since 2008,” he said. “These range from occupancy, tree-cutting, earth balling to excavation over 18) hectares of supposedly revenue-generating projects crucial to the maintenance and very existence of CJHDevco.”

(Published in the Manila Standard Today newspaper on /2012/April/26)

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