AAVA’s ‘clarification’ refuted
IN HIS letter, Epifanio S. Joaquin (who acts as president of the Ayala Alabang Village Association or AAVA) offered “clarifications” that actually disputed the correctness of the court injunction against the use of the gates at Champaca and San Jose that AAVA constructed over the objections of Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) and many AAV residents (“Clarification re row in Ayala Alabang Village,” Opinion, 11/28/15).
1. He claims that the “San Jose and Champaca gates are very much part of the subdivision plan approved by the HLURB.” This is false; (a) he himself has admitted in the case before the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) that AAV’s design provides for gates only along Commerce Avenue;
(b) the subdivision plan he relies on, approved by the HLURB in 1990, does not provide for a gate in San Jose. He ignores the fact that the road is a dead-end since the other side at the time was the Alabang Stock Farm, now Filinvest.
2. As to a gate in Champaca, by his own admission the village design does not provide for this gate. Although AAVA allowed the heavy equipment of Ayala Land to use it for Southvale’s development, it was not a gate for public use and was temporary in nature.
3. Joaquin contends that AAVA’s contracts of lease with ALI are void; first, because their subjects, the open spaces, including the roads, are “outside the commerce of man”; second, because under Presidential Decree No. 1216, ALI is mandated to donate them to the city of Muntinlupa.
The court was correct to bar AAVA from questioning ALI’s title to the roads. As lessee, AAVA cannot deny ALI’s ownership of the roads and other common areas. These contracts of lease are valid and in effect to date.
Similarly, since ALI has not made the donations to the city of Muntinlupa as apparently required by PD 1216, ALI continues to be the owner of the road lots.
That Joaquin continues to believe that ALI no longer owns the roads and the common areas is perplexing. If not ALI, who?
AAVA? Muntinlupa City? The members? Joaquin?
In any case, existing jurisprudence holds that donations under PD 1216 are not automatic. ALI still needs to execute the deeds of donation. Until then Article III, Section 9 of the Constitution (“Private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.”) prevails.
4. Joaquin says that “All expenses incurred by AAVA, for the maintenance of the ‘open spaces,’ including real estate taxes, which ALI passed on to it via void and nonexistent lease contracts, are recoverable from ALI.” He believes erroneously that it is AAVA, instead of the AAVA members, that pays for those costs.
He fails to realize that AAVA is not a business corporation but an association mandated to provide support services to its members that they may preserve the lifestyle that they bought when they purchased their property in AAV.
He, among others, holds the association funds in trust for the members. He takes a step closer in breaching that trust when he entertains the idea that if the lease contracts are void, then AAVA has no obligation to pay the taxes and maintain the roads. With or without the lease, the members expect that their association funds will be used to pay the realty taxes on the roads and other common areas as well as to defray the cost to maintain them.
—MICHELLE S. BASCO, Ayala Alabang Village
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