CA stops Taguig-Makati land case word war

MANILA, Philippines – Enough with the word war over Fort Bonifacio.

In a 5-page resolution, the Court of Appeals (CA) barred Taguig and Makati city governments, lawyers, and witnesses from making public statements on the two cities' dispute over 729.15 hectares of land, including the posh Fort Bonifacio and several "embo" barangays in the city.

"This Court is not oblivious to the comments, disclosures and statements before the media and the public made by the parties and other personalities after the promulgation of this Court's July 30 2013 decision. Consequently, these discussions may violate the sub judice rule," the CA said in a resolution penned by CA Associate Justice Marlene Gonzales Sison.

The 6th division of the CA said parties who continue to discuss the merits of the case in public could be cited for indirect contempt.

The sub judice rule bars parties from disclosures connected to ongoing judicial proceedings "to avoid prejudging the issue, influencing the court, or obstructing the administration of justice."

The gag order covers not only media statements or interviews, but any statements made in public.

Taguig on September 1 filed a motion for reconsideration before the CA. The city also filed an urgent motion seeking the inhibition of Associate Justice Gonzales Sison because of her ties to Vice President Jejomar Binay, former Makati mayor and father of incumbent Mayor Junjun Binay.

The motion has been submitted for resolution.

Dispute

The two cities have been tossing each other words – some unkind – since the boundary dispute began. Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano earlier cautioned Mayor Binay to be cautious with his statements.

Binay, meanwhile, asked the Philippine National Police to formally hand over Fort Bonifacio jurisdiction to Makati. Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Metro Manila Police Chief Supt Marcelo Garbo Jr said jurisdiction would stay with Taguig pending court decisions.

Cayetano and Binay recently decided to "renew" the 2 cities' "friendship and camaraderie" after tension escalated between members of the Taguig Public Order and Safety Office and Makati Anti-Drug Abuse Council. – Bea Cupin/Rappler.com