MANILA, Philippines – The booming commercial hub that has fueled Taguig City’s economy in recent years belongs to Makati City after all.
The 6th division of the appeals court on Monday, August 5, favored Makati’s appeal to declare some parts of Fort Andres Bonifacio, formerly called Fort William Mckinley and the so-called “embo” barangays (barangays whose names end with “embo”) to be within the city’s territory and not Taguig’s.
The 37-page decision – penned by Justice Marlene Gonzales-Sison and concurred in by Justices Hakim Abdulwahid and Edwin Sorongon – reversed the ruling of the Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 153 that had sided with Taguig.
The Court of Appeals (CA) ordered Taguig “to immediately cease and desist from exercising jurisdiction within the disputed area and return the same to Makati; and [ordered it] to pay the cost of suit.”
The CA found no merit in Taguig’s contention that the “embo” barangays and the Inner Fort barangays (Barangay Post Proper Northside and Barangay Post Proper Southside) belong to it.
Taguig can still appeal the decision. If upheld by the Supreme Court, however, the decision by the CA’s 6th division will revert 729.15 hectares to Makati.
The contested area starts from behind the posh Magallanes, Dasmariñas, and Forbes Park, all the way to parts of Guadalupe.
It covers the entire Bonifacio Global City development that is home to posh condominiums, luxury malls, high-end restaurants, foreign embassies, call centers, and military camps.
Marcos proclamation is constitutional
The court lifted the preliminary injunction issued by the Pasig lower court against Makati on July 15, 1994, which had been modified by a resolution issued by the CA on Sept 11, 1995.
The case stemmed from the orders of President Corazon Aquino in 1992 and of President Fidel Ramos in 1993 to develop portions of military camps, including Fort Bonifacio, and placing them under the Bases Conversion Development Authority.
In those orders, they identified certain barangays as part of the municipality of Taguig, despite the fact that earlier presidential proclamations had clearly placed these parts of Fort Bonifacio under Makati’s jurisdiction.
These were Presidential Proclamation (PP) 2475, which was issued by President Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, and PP 518, through which President Aquino amended it in 1990.
Taguig seized the opportunity by asking the Pasig court that same year, 1993, to confirm the delineation of boundaries indicated in the two presidents’ orders. While the Pasig RTC sided with Taguig, the appeals court reversed the lower court.
The CA declared constitutional and valid PP 2475 and PP 518.
A Manila Bulletin report said the CA corrected the lower court’s position that the Marcos and Aquino proclamations altered the boundaries between the two localities when they transferred parts of Taguig to Makati.
In fact, the CA said, these proclamations were only confirming the jurisdiction of Makati.
Delay in showing interest
The appeals court cited the fact that since 1970, the residents of the 7 barangays within the military camp have been registered as Makati voters.
The court also took Taguig to task for not showing interest in the boundary claims early enough. It says the fact that it took Taguig 7 years to dispute the boundaries affirmed by PP 2475 “is strongly persuasive of the lack of merit of its claim.”
Joey Salgado, public information chief of the Makati City government, said they have yet to receive a copy of the CA decision, but were “glad that the CA has upheld our jurisdiction.”
“Makati’s claim on these areas have historical and legal basis. We have always maintained they are part of Makati,” he said.
While the boundary dispute between Taguig and Makati was ongoing, the municipality of Pateros joined the fray in May 2012, to claim parts of Fort Bonifacio and the “embo” barangays from both cities.
The Inquirer reported that Pateros was claiming 461.56 hectares of Fort Bonifacio area from Taguig, and 304.45 hectares covering the barangays of Cembo, South Cembo, West Rembo, East Rembo, Comembo, Pembo, and Pitogo from Makati. – Miriam Grace A. Go/Rappler.com