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BCDA harassment of developer continues

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As I See It

BCDA harassment of developer continues

/ 12:10 AM June 26, 2015

Here is a piece of news you will find amusing: The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) under Arnel Casanova was caught using illegal jumper cables on its electric meter at a log cabin in the Voice of America section of Camp John Hay in Baguio. (A jumper is an illegal device used to cheat on electric consumption by making the electric current bypass the electric meter so that the power consumption is not recorded.) BCDA also refuses to pay P213,008.37 in electric bills, and so its electric connection has been cut.

BCDA is the owner of Camp John Hay. Its electricity is supplied by Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevCo), the private company that leases and develops the former American base. The two had a falling out and sued each other. An arbitration court ruled that both of them violated their contracts and ordered BCDA to return the rentals paid to it by CJHDevCo and for the latter to return the camp to BCDA after payment.

The fight is not yet over as BCDA refuses to refund the rentals and CJHDevCo refuses to surrender the camp unless it gets paid first. BCDA tried to take over by force the two hotels built by the private company, but the Court of Appeals issued a temporary restraining order. Yet, harassment by BCDA of CJHDevCo continues.

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To inform its investors and the public about the TRO, CJHDevCo put up a tarpaulin stating the facts. But BCDA security guards forcibly tore it down. CJHDevCo put up another one and again it was torn down.

CJHDevCo asked for protection and assistance from the Baguio police but the latter did not do anything. Either they are in connivance with BCDA or they were threatened by the latter not to intervene. The developer complained to Baguio Mayor Mauricio Domogan.

* * *

For details, I quote from a June 16, 2015, letter to John Hay Management Corp. (JHMC), a subsidiary of BCDA, from Shean Bedi, EVP for operations of CJHDevCo:

“In view of the refusal of BCDA/JHMC to settle the outstanding balance of your electricity bills amounting to P213,008.37 as of February 2015, for VOA (Voice of America) Unit Nos. 1, 3, 5 ,9 and 20A, and after the lapse of the additional time to settle said balance as stated in our Final Notice of Disconnection which you received on March 24, 2015, CJHDevCo is constrained to cut off electricity for said units.

“Sometime during the last week of April 2015, we discovered that a jumper cable had been installed in the electric meter for VOA Unit No. 5. We removed the jumper cable but we discovered on May 8, 2015, that the jumper cable was installed again. We have advised JHMC on various occasions of the presence of said jumper cable and our request to remove it but you refused to remove it. In fact, JHMC deployed additional security personnel to secure the premises where the electric meters are located to prevent us from having access to said metering center.

“In light of the situation, this is to give you a last and final request to remove the jumper cable installed on the electric meter for VOA Unit No. 5 within three days from receipt of this letter.”

* * *

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In its letter-complaint, dated June 5, 2015, to Baguio Mayor Mauricio Domogan,

CJHDevCo said:

“We would like to bring to your attention the illegal, arbitrary and tyrannical acts of the

BCDA and the JHMC by taking over control of the former Voice of America by posting approximately 20 fully armed security guards yesterday at around 4 o’clock in the afternoon and prevented the CJHDevCo group led by our legal counsel Atty. Federico J. Mandapat, Jr. accompanied by members of print and broadcast media… from inspecting the illegal jumpers they have installed at the BCDA log cabin, the electricity of which we have earlier disconnected for non-payment of their electric bills.

“The assistance of the Baguio City Police

Office to provide security during the said inspection was sought to deter any untoward incident that may take place but P/Sr. Insp. Reynaldo Ninalga Buan, Station Commander of Station No. 4, informed us that he has instructions from P/Sr. Supt. Rolando Miranda, Chief of Police of Baguio City, for them not to respond, as only the SWAT should do so. Atty. Mandapat called COP Miranda and requested for police assistance from them as law enforcers and he said that he will call BCDA/JHMC and CJHDevCo operations head to discuss the matter. We waited for a call from COP Miranda but it appears that he was not inclined to provide police assistance which is highly contrary to his sworn duty as a police officer and a gentleman.

“When the group of Atty. Mandapat reached the VOA, the armed security guards… prevented us from entering the area where the electric meters were located and advised us to wait for the representatives of the BCDA and JHMC. When the Chief Security Officer of JHMC arrived, he said he had orders ‘from his bosses’ not to allow us, CJHDevCo, entry as our company has no legal personalty to continue occupying the leased premises at John Hay as the PDRCI decision is now final and executory.

“Atty. Mandapat explained that there is a TRO from the Court of Appeals preventing the enforcement of said decision and that we have not formally turned over the leased premises, hence, we continue to be the lessees. This, however, fell on deaf ears… as he said he would comply with the orders to prevent us….

“It appears that the Baguio City Police… are favoring BCDA/JHMC to our damage and

prejudice….

“We seek your immediate assistance as the City mayor of Baguio… to direct the BCPO to abide by their sworn duty as law enforcers to be fair and just. We urge your attention in ensuring no violent act, illegal occupation, confrontational scenario that may cause injury or loss of life in this peaceful Camp and City of Baguio.”

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TAGS: BCDA, CJHDevco., column, Harassment, jumper cables, neal h. cruz
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