The Supreme Court has spoken.
It terminated the longstanding land dispute between the city governments of Makati and Taguig regarding jurisdiction over the Fort Bonifacio Military Reservation, where the Bonifacio Global City now stands.
Hence, Taguig City will now exercise territorial jurisdiction over the disputed property.
In a two-page resolution dated September 28, 2022, the Court’s Special Third Division denied with finality the Makati City government’s omnibus motion for reconsideration of the Court’s December 1, 2021 decision, on the ground the basic issues raised therein had been duly considered and passed upon by the Court in the assailed decision.
The Court also denied Makati City’s omnibus motion to refer the case to the Court en banc, as the Court en banc is not an appellate court to which decisions or resolutions of a division may be appealed.
The Court likewise said no further pleadings, motions, letters or other communications shall be entertained in this case, as it ordered the immediate issuance of an entry of judgment.
In its December 1, 2021 decision, the Court denied the petition for review on certiorari filed by the City of Makati that assailed the resolution dated March 8, 2017 and the resolution dated October 3, 2017 of the Court of Appeals.
The High Court reinstated with modification the July 8, 2011 decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig as follows:
1) Fort Bonifacio Military Reservation, consisting of Parcels 3 and 4, is confirmed to be part of the territory of Taguig City.
2) The Writ of Preliminary Injunction dated August 2, 1994 issued by the RTC of Pasig, explicitly referring to Parcels 3 and 4, comprising Fort Bonifacio, be made permanent insofar as it enjoined the municipality, now Makati City, from exercising jurisdiction over, making improvements on, or otherwise treating as part of its territory, Parcels 3 and 4, comprising Fort Bonifacio.
3. Makati City must pay the costs of the suit.
The dispute goes back to 1993, when Taguig filed a complaint against Makati before the Pasig RTC in connection with their territorial dispute over the areas comprising the Enlisted Men’s Barangays and the entirety of Fort Bonifacio. Makati City elevated the matter to the CA and, ultimately, to the High Court.
In response to the latest Supreme Court ruling, the City Government of Taguig issued an official statement.
“The Supreme Court has decided with finality that jurisdiction over Fort Bonifacio Military Reservation, by superior legal rights and historic title, belongs to Taguig.
“In a way, Taguig is not the only victor in this legal contest. In a bigger sense, with both parties putting their trust in the legal system, it is the rule of law which prevailed. …
“The end of this legal dispute marks the beginning of a new chapter for Taguig and its people. Our victory in the courts of law is not merely a vindication of our rights. It is equally a command for us to make good use of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to expand our brand of committed public service to new constituents. We welcome our new Taguigeños with this solemn promise.
“Taguig and its people, over the past decade, have proven what we could collectively achieve. Taguig has been transformed into a progressive city, grounded in caring for all sectors and levels of its society. ‘I Love Taguig’ is not just a slogan; it is obedience to the command to do everything in love.
“We will work even harder to expand and improve the services we run for our constituents, by introducing new programs and projects.
“We have the resources to bring about a transformative, lively, and caring city. We will not get tired of doing good, for we are assured that in time we will have a harvest.
“Our immediate task at hand is to work on the transition without hampering public service. Towards this end, we shall work hand in hand with our good neighbor, the City of Makati.
“We will forge ahead in assuming new responsibilities, conscious that the benefits of this monumental legal victory should redound to all the barangays of Taguig and to all sectors of the city.
“We are thinking big for our beloved City. With the Lord’s blessings, we will make things happen.”
Meanwhile, Makati second motion to elevate the case to the SC en banc is not likely to prosper.
One, the decision is now final and executory; this was confirmed by the SC spokesperson himself.
Two, the judgment says that no further motions, pleadings, letters or communication will be entertained.
Three, there is already an entry of judgment.
And four, all parties must respect the decision which the SC itself rendered after decades of litigation, and after weighing all the evidence.
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