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CJHDevco ordered to post P736-M bond for debt dispute

Posted on May 06, 2012 09:39:53 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]

A BAGUIO City court has reportedly ordered Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevco) to post a P736-million bond as pre-requisite to the issuance of a preliminary injunction that will prevent a state agency from taking over its properties.

In a statement released over the weekend, the state-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) said the bond amount was about a quarter of the CJHDevco’s total debt from unpaid leases in the John Hay Special Economic Zone, pegged at roughly P3 billion.

The bond order was issued by Regional Trial Court Judge Cleto Villacorta III on April 27.

The Sobrepeña-led CJHDevco had sought a court injunction after receiving reports that the BCDA is looking to take over the Camp John Hay Golf Club, the Manor Hotel, the Camp John Hay Suites Hotel, its administrative offices, as well as key utilities and facilities such as its water source.

This, after the CJHDevco allegedly rescinded a financial agreement with the BCDA aimed at easing the real estate developer’s debt burden.

The Restructuring Memorandum of Agreement, signed by the CJHDevco and the BCDA in 2008, contained a new lease payment scheme, a detailed schedule for turning over properties as payment to the government, and the lease agreement between the CJHDevco and a new investor, the Ayala Land, Inc.

The BCDA has noted that the CHJDevco owes the government P4.4 billion for 16 years of real estate development work, but had only paid P1.4 billion, including the value of surrendered properties. The state agency has also sued the firm for estafa.

BCDA President and Chief Executive Arnel D. Casanova vowed to hold the Sobrepeña group “accountable to the public for its commercial exploitation of the Camp John Hay property without paying what is due to the government and the host community.”

The BCDA also said that the CJHDevco’s payment of the bond will also contradict its earlier claims that financial losses prevented it from settling its lease obligations.

“CJHDevco would likely betray itself by coming across with the bond,” the BCDA statement read.

“If CJHDevco shows up with the money for the bond, it goes without saying that it stands on solid financial ground contrary to what it had been previously carping about,” it added. -- Kim Arveen M. Patria

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