Rappler file photo
MANILA, Philippines – The Court of Appeals (CA) granted the motion of the Taguig City government to dismiss Makati City's earlier appeal because of forum shopping, reviving the legal battle of who owns Fort Bonifacio.
In a ruling issued on Wednesday, March 8, the CA former special sixth division ruled that Makati committed forum shopping when it filed the same appeal before two courts – the Pasig City Regional Trial Court (RTC) and the CA.
Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano hailed the CA decision as a victory for Taguigeños, saying in a statement that the latest CA ruling "essentially upheld Taguig's rightful ownership of the hotly contested estate."
But Makati Mayor Abigail Binay said all is not lost for Makati, because according to her, the SC never said Taguig owns Fort Bonifacio.
"The order of dismissal by the CA is in conflict with the decision of the SC that merely ordered the previous lawyers of Makati to pay a fine and not to dismiss the case. Makati will exhaust all legal remedies to protect its territorial jurisdiction," Binay told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The root of all cases is the July 8, 2011 order of the Pasig RTC that favored Taguig and stopped Makati from exercising jurisdiction over Fort Bonifacio.
Makati filed a motion for reconsideration before the Pasig court and filed an appeal before the CA questioning the Pasig court's earlier decision.
On July 30, 2013, the CA ruled in favor of Makati and reversed the Pasig court ruling. In that decision, the CA lifted the injunction earlier imposed on Makati and ordered Taguig to cease and desist from exercising jurisdiction over the area.
Taguig then fought this decision and argued that Makati committed forum shopping. Taguig filed a motion before the CA and filed the same case before the Supreme Court (SC).
On June 15, 3016, the SC favored Taguig and found Makati guilty of forum shopping. In its latest decision, the CA issued the same ruling.
In deciding that Makati committed forum shopping, the CA also said that "the instant appeal docketed as CA-G.R CV No. 98377 is hereby dismissed." Case No. 98377 was Makati's appeal before the CA in 2012 that led to their winning the case in 2013.
"I thank God, the CA and all those who have worked on the Taguig case from the beginning up to this day," Cayetano said in her statement.
But Binay said: "The CA did not rule that Taguig is the rightful owner of the BGC (Bonifacio Global City). That point needs to be emphasized. Based on the merits, the Court has ruled that Makati, not Taguig, is the rightful owner of the BGC." – Rappler.com