THE Supreme Court (SC) has upheld an arbitral ruling directing CJH Development Corp. (CJH DevCo) to vacate the 247-hectare portion of the John Hay Special Economic Zone (John Hay SEZ) that it rented from the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

The SC en banc, throughJustice Japar B. Dimaampao, upheld a decision from the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center, Inc. (PDRCI) that found CJH DevCo and BCDA to have breached their obligations under their agreement. 

The decision ordered “mutual restitution where parties revert to their original position prior to the execution of the agreement as far as practicable.”

It added that CJH DevCo should return the leased property with the improvements to BCDA.

BCDA should refund to CJH DevCo the rent it paid, amounting to more than P1.42 billion, the SC said.

The SC also said that the Commission on Audit did not commit “grave abuse of discretion” when it dismissed CJH DevCo’s money claim “pending resolution of the BCDA petition before the court.”

BCDA, which holds and administers former US military bases for alternative productive uses, and CJH DevCo had entered into a lease agreement where the latter was awarded a 247-hectare portion following the transformation of Camp John Hay into the 625-hectare John Hay SEZ. — Chloe Mari A. Hufana