Camp John Hay developer cries foul over estafa case
MANILA, Philippines – Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevCo) has denounced the estafa case filed against its chairman Robert Sobrepeña over the alleged failure to pay P1.15 billion in rent to state-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).
CJHDevCo executive vice president and chief operating officer Alfredo Yñiguez III called the estafa charges as “harassment” and a “personal vendetta” against Sobrepeña.
“This is another purely harassment case by BCDA president Arnel Paciano Casanova against Mr. Bob Sobrepeña. This appears to be a personal vendetta, an example of how selective justice works while denying Mr. Sobrepeña due process of the law," Yñiguez said in a statement Thursday.
Yñiguez questioned the timing of the decision, noting that the restructured agreement in 2000 was approved by the BCDA.
"BCDA, which was headed at that time by chairman and president Rogelio Singson, cited the reasons of the restructuring. In fact, there was a board resolution from BCDA which outlined the reasons for their restructuring. This all happened around 14 years ago, and they are only raising the issues now? What's their agenda? Is it political? Personal vendetta against the Sobrepeñas?" Yñiguez said.
"The timing of this decision is suspect since the arbitration decision is coming out anytime within the next 30-60 days. In fact, we just received information that BCDA and the John Hay Management Corp. are recruiting 150 armed security guards in another attempt to physically take over Camp John Hay, just as they have attempted several times in the past," he added.
The public-private partnership project to build an 18-hectare tourist-oriented commercial hub in Camp John Hay is in the last stage of arbitration, and a three-man panel is deliberating CJHDevco’s petition to reform the contract and adjust payments in light of BCDA's defaults.
Yñiguez said it’s unfair to charge full payments to CJDevCo for BCDA defaults and undelivered services and obligations.
"Our partner should just let arbitration decide and live up to the terms of our contract," he added.
The Department of Justice has found probable cause to file estafa against Sobrepeña with findings that BCDA suffered damages in the amount of P1.150 billion, which represents the difference between the amount it was entitled to receive under a lease agreement with CJHDevCo in 1996.
BCDA said that under the terms of the lease agreement, Sobrepeña’s group was supposed to pay an annual rent of P425 million or 5 percent of gross revenues for the first five years of the lease, whichever was higher.