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CA: Fort Bonifacio is part of Makati

By Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 6, 2013 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Makati has won its appeal against Taguig’s claim over the entire Fort Bonifacio, including the commercially developed areas within the former military camp.
The Court of Appeals (CA) has declared as constitutional Presidential Proclamation No. 2475 of President Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 and Proclamation No. 518 of President Corazon Aquino in 1990 declaring the 729-hectare Fort Bonifacio within the jurisdiction of Makati.
It reversed a 2008 decision of the Pasig regional trial court declaring the seven military barangays and Inner Fort barangays, including the high-end Bonifacio Global City, within the jurisdiction of Taguig.
The CA lifted the Pasig court’s 1994 preliminary injunction in favor of Taguig’s claim.
It ordered Taguig to immediately cease and desist from exercising jurisdiction within the disputed area and return it to Makati.
The CA said the presidential proclamations did not alter boundaries but confirmed that Fort Bonifacio is under the jurisdiction of Makati.
“In fine, by upholding the validity of Proclamations 2475 and 518, the claim of Makati over the disputed area becomes undisputed, hence, necessarily, the claim of Taguig must fail,” read the CA decision.
“We believe that contrary to the findings of the lower court as between pieces of evidence presented, Taguig was not able to prove this greater weight of evidence to merit a favorable decision.”
The CA said census since 1970 of the seven military barangays indicated that they were under the jurisdiction of Makati.
Residents have been voting in the national and local elections as Makati voters, the CA added.
Proximity-wise, Makati’s claim is more credible than that of Taguig’s, the CA said.
The CA took into consideration the delay on the part of Taguig in filing the complaint.
Proclamation 2475 was issued in 1986 and Proclamation 518 in 1990, but Taguig only filed the complaint in 1993 when the proposed cityhood of Makati was being debated in Congress.
Makati and former senator Joker Arroyo welcomed yesterday the CA decision.
Makati government spokesman Joey Salgado said Makati’s claims on these areas have historical and legal basis. “We have always maintained that they are part of Makati and we are glad that the CA has upheld our jurisdiction,” he said.
Bonifacio Global City, a thriving business and commercial hub, is part of the “Inner Fort” area, he added.
Arroyo said the CA could not have made it any clearer when Taguig was ordered to immediately cease and desist from exercising jurisdiction within the disputed area and return it to Makati.
“The appellate court also declared that President Marcos’ proclamation no. 2475 and President Cory Aquino’s proclamation no. 518, which supported Makati’s position relative to the disputed areas as constitutional and valid, contrary to Taguig’s position that they are unconstitutional.”
However, Taguig City Administrator Joel Montales said the CA ruling was erroneous.
“The disputed land is Taguig’s,” he said. “The CA decision, with due respect, is erroneous. We will fight to make sure that the disputed land remains with Taguig. We are confident that we will ultimately win this fight.”
Makati has accused Taguig of claiming the whole of the Fort Bonifacio commercial development without a presidential proclamation and a plebiscite as required under the Constitution.
The case arose from a dispute between Makati and Taguig over the military barangays, comprising of Cembo, South Cembo, East Rembo, West Rembo, Comembo, Pembo and Pitogo as well as the Inner Fort barangays (Barangay Post Proper Northside and Barangay Post Proper Southside).
Associate Justice Marlene Gonzales-Sison wrote the decision.
Associate Justices Hakim Abdulwahid and Edwin Sorongon concurred. – Edu Punay, Mike Frialde
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