BCDA cases, media blitz ‘a waste of govt funds’-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
CAMP John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevCo) questioned last weekend the motive and funding of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority to continuously file cases and place negative media releases and advertisements against them.
The real estate developer of Camp John Hay instead challenged the BCDA to sit down with them in arbitration, as mandated in their agreements.
In a press statement, CJHDevCo noted that since 2010, BCDA president Arnel Casanova has filed five cases and allegedly launched several media offensives, including full page advertisements in major broadsheets, against CJHDevCo, often times resulting in libel cases allegedly embarrassing the government due to the alleged false accusations contained in the media releases of the government executive.
The developer highlighted a case BCDA filed against CJHDevCo for squatting when it turned out the subjected security guards of CJHDevCo accused of sleeping in alleged BCDA property were in fact in property within the 247-hectare leased area, the government lessee said.
In another case, CJHDevCo said BCDA accused them of a "double sale" when in the "alleged" first sale that BCDA was referring to, the supposed buyer executed an affidavit confirming he had already abandoned his offer to purchase, refuting the baseless charge of the BCDA.
"There could be no double sale when there is no first sale to speak of," the developer further argued.
In its latest case, the BCDA accused CJHDevCo officials of malversation of public funds but the courts have dismissed 50 counts of malversation against CJHDevCo directors and officers in this case for lack of merit due to insufficient evidence.
CJHDevCo appealed to BCDA to save governments funds and instead follow the grievance procedure dictated by law and ordered by the RTC of Baguio.
The Regional Trial Court of Baguio ordered BCDA to sit down in arbitration with CJHDevCo as early as 2011. Casanova has expressed willingness to comply in statements to the media but has not complied to date, in spite of the order of the court.
"We continue to wonder why Casanova continues to spend scarce public funds to finance an expensive media campaign that will not in any way help resolve the present dispute between the parties," CJHDevCo spokesperson lawyer Barry Ubarra lamented.
A black and white full page advertisement in major broadsheets costs approximately P200,000, he added.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 19, 2013.