CA upholds acquittal of ex-BCDA officials Casanova, Payumo
The Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed its decision exonerating former officials of the state-owned Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) from administrative liability in connection with the dispute over the development of the 247-hectare Camp John Hay, a rest and recreation site in Baguio City.
In a two-page resolution dated May 16 penned by Associate Justice Renato Francisco, concurred by Associate Justices Japar Dimaampao and Rodil Zalameda, the CA’s former seventh Division junked the petition filed by Camp John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevCo) seeking the reversal of its Jan. 23, 2018 ruling, stressing that the petitioner failed to raise new arguments.
The CA affirmed the resolution issued by the Office of the Ombudsman dismissing the administrative complaint filed by the petitioner accusing the BCDA board of gross inexcusable negligence and causing delays in the issuance of permits and clearances to CJHDevco.
“A perusal of petitioner’s motion for reconsideration, however, reveals rehashed arguments that had already been exhaustively discussed and squarely passed upon by this Court in the decision sought to be reconsidered,” the CA ruled.
In its decision, the CA explained that there is no basis to reverse the ruling of the Ombudsman since it is supported by the evidence on record.
It noted that the dispute between CJHDevco and BCDA hinged on who actually defaulted in their contractual obligations under the RMOA.
The CA held that CJHDVCO failed to sufficiently show that the refusal or withholding of the issuance of petitioner’s documents was unjustified.
Cleared of any administrative liabilities were former BCDA chairs 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 respondents 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 was obliged to maintain a One-Stop Action Center (OSAC) with full authority to process and issue all permits, certificates and licenses from all government agencies and for OSAC to issue them within 30 days from the complete submission of all required documents. (PNA)