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C.A. junks administrative raps filed by CJHDEVCO vs. former BCDA execs.

THE Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed the resolution issued by the Ombudsman dismissing the administrative charges filed by Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevCo) against former officials of state-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) in connection with the development of the 247-hectare rest and recreation site in Baguio City.

In a 10-page decision penned by Associate Justice Renato Francisco, the CA's Seventh Division, junked CJHDevCO's petition seeking to set aside the Ombudsman's joint resolution issued on January 15, 2016.

In that resolution, the Ombudsman dismissed the complaint filed by CJHDevCo accusing the BCDA board of gross inexcusable negligence and of causing delays in the issuance of permits and clearances to CJHDevco.

Cleared of any administrative liabilities were former BCDA chairmen Arnel Paciano Casanova and Felicito Payumo and former directors Zorayda Amelia Alonzo, Teresita Desierto, Ma. Aurora Geotina-Garcia, Ferdinand Golez, Elmar Gomez and Maximo Sangil.

The Ombudsman held that CJHDevCo failed to sufficiently establish that the BCDA delayed and/or refused to perform their obligations under the Restructuring Memorandum of Agreement (RMOA).

Under the RMOA, CJHDevCo agreed to settle its prior rental obligation to BCDA in the amount of P2.68 billion, while the latter warranted to maintain a One-Stop Action Center (Osac) with full authority to process and issue all permits, certificates and licenses of all government agencies and for Osac to issue them within 30 days from the complete submission of all required documents.

The CA said there was no basis to reverse the Ombudsman ruling since this was supported by the evidence on record.

It noted the dispute between CJHDevco and BCDA hinged on who actually defaulted on their contractual obligations under the RMOA.

If there was a delay or refusal on the part of respondent officers, good faith and regularity in the performance of their official function is presumed and that the withholding of the issuance of permits, clearances and licenses were justified and rested in the respondents' favor, the CA said.

'As did the Ombudsman, this Court finds that petitioner miserably failed to sufficiently show that the refusal or withholding of the issuance of petitioner's documents, if at all, was unjustified or for the purpose of securing material/pecuniary benefits or was resorted to discriminate petitioner within the ambit of the Act,' the CA said.

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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Feb 19, 2018
Words:436
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