The city government of Makati on Monday downplayed the latest decision of the Court of Appeals, saying it did not categorically rule in favor of the City of Taguig on the ownership of the 729-hectare Fort Andres Bonifacio, popularly known as “The Fort.”
Lawyer Michael Arthur Camiña, city legal officer and spokesman of Makati City Mayor Abigail Binay, said the appellate court did not overturn a previous court decision upholding Makati’s rightful claim over Bonifacio Global City.
He said the recent ruling merely upheld a previous CA decision issued last March 8 on forum shopping filed by Taguig against Makati.
“The Court of Appeals decision mentioned in media reports today [Monday] did not rule on the legal and historical evidence presented by Makati to support its rightful claim over BGC, which was upheld in another decision by the CA,” Camiña said in a statement.
The city government has not received a copy of the decision to date.
Camiña noted that based on media reports, the decision merely upheld the court’s previous ruling on forum shopping, a logical consequence of a Supreme Court decision on the same issue.
“The said CA decision did not categorically rule in favor of Taguig. As pointed out by the separate CA decision upholding Makati’s ownership of BGC, Taguig not only failed to present concrete evidence to support its claim but presented fake and spurious documents to the courts,” he stressed.
“Makati’s claim is based on legal and historical evidence. That has not been disputed or overturned. We will continue to exhaust all legal remedies to assert our rightful claim,” Camiña vowed.
In its 37-page ruling penned by Associate Justice Marlene Gonzales-Sison, the appellate court dismissed Taguig’s complaint filed against Makati in 1993 in a Pasig Regional Trial Court for “lack of merit” and confirmed that the disputed area covering some nine barangays are “within the territorial jurisdiction of Makati City.”
The 2013 CA ruling lifted a preliminary injunction issued by the lower court in July 1994 that had earlier prevented Makati from exercising jurisdiction over barangays Post Proper Northside and Post Proper Southside, which are located in the so-called Inner Fort area of the former military camp.
Apart from the two barangays, the disputed area also covers portions of barangays Cembo, South Cembo, East Rembo, West Rembo, Comembo, Pembo and Pitogo.
In its 2013 decision, the CA declared as “constitutional and valid” Presidential Proclamation Nos. 2475 and 518, which reinforced Makati’s ownership of Fort Bonifacio.
Issued by then-President Ferdinand Marcos on January 7, 1986, PP No. 2475 disregarded the claim of Taguig over Fort Bonifacio, saying that this fell under Makati’s jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, PP No. 518 issued in 1990 by then President Corazon Aquino reaffirmed that the disputed tracts of land are part of Makati City.