Regional Trial Court in Angeles City Decision Favors BCDA

The Regional Trial Court in Angeles City ruled in favor of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) in its case against the illegal claimant of a property that forms part of the former Fort Stotsenberg Military Reservation.

BCDA’s victory came on the heels of BCDA’s intensified efforts to prosecute land-grabbing syndicates who have laid claim to government property under BCDA’s stewardship.

“We are sending a strong message to those who have plan to claim government property as their own, we will use the full extent of the law to get our properties back,” BCDA President and Chief Executive Officer Arnel Casanova warned.

In a letter to Casanova, Government Corporate Counsel Raoul Creencia said RTC Branch 58 of Angeles City has ordered the cancellation of a land title erroneously issued to a certain Consorcia M. Bontuyan, paving the way for the return of the affected property to the state-run BCDA.

In his 16-page decision, Judge Philbert Iturralde ruled null and void ab initio the Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. 1 registered in the name of Bontuyan, and directed the latter to surrender the same with the Register of Deeds of Angeles City for subsequent cancellation.

The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) who was cited as a co- respondent in the case filed by the BCDA, was likewise instructed to revoke the free patent issued to Bontuyan in 1996.

On the other hand, the local Register of Deeds was ordered to initiate the cancellation process of Bontuyan’s OCT and all other land titles emanating from it.

The Court also ordered Bontuyan to vacate the property and desist from exercising acts of ownership of the land.

Casanova hailed the court order, saying it paves the way for the BCDA’s full development of the property and adjoining areas in Clark consistent with the Clark Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) master plan.

“The general idea is to maximize land use at the CSEZ which is already well on its way to becoming a strategic aviation and logistics center in Asia,” Casanova added.

Inspired by the legal triumph, Casanova said the BCDA would pursue with even more vigor and enthusiasm all similarly situated government property entrusted by law to the Agency for development into highly profitable mix-use growth centers.

For his part, BCDA Chairman Felicito C. Payumo said the RTC decision will allow the BCDA to develop and maximize the full potential of the area that will lead to increased job opportunities for the Filipinos and at the same time improve the socio-economic condition in the region.

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