Cayetano to Binay: Fort Bonifacio still Taguig’s

Bea Cupin
Mayor Lani Cayetano says they will appeal the CA decision up to the Supreme Court. Tells Makati: 'Papasok kayo rito? We will exert jurisdiction over our area.'

NOTHING FINAL. Taguig mayor Lani Cayetano says the city will exert all efforts to change the CA ruling. Photo by Rappler/Bea Cupin

MANILA, Philippines – Be careful with statements that sow confusion and misunderstanding.

Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano appealed to Makati mayor Jejomar Binay Jr on Wednesday, August 7, to be “responsible” in making statements over an August 5 Court of Appeals (CA) ruling that favored Makati in a boundary dispute with Taguig.

The 6th division of the appeals court on Monday reverted 730 hectares of Fort Bonifacio to Makati. The area – home to a commercial hub and vote-rich barangays – has accounted for a chunk of Taguig’s income base.

“[Mayor Binay] and all the lawyers in the Philippines know that it will take time [for the ruling to be executory]….  Taguig will continue to exercise full jurisdiction over Fort Bonifacio,” Cayetano said in a press conference.

Cayetano said a legal team is studying the CA’s 37-page decision but until then, it’s status quo.

“Papasok kayo rito? Iko-control ‘nyo traffic? We will exert jurisdiction over our area,” she said.

The CA, in its ruling, 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.”

Lani Cayetano, who is on her second term as Taguig mayor, said the city government will still file for a motion for reconsideration before the CA. “The CA decision, with all due respect is erroneus,” she said. If needed, they will take it up to the Supreme Court.

As far as Makati is concerned, it is indeed only the Supreme Court that can stop it from overtaking Fort Bonifacio.

Kenneth Dasal, head of the Makati legal department, said Makati has every right to exercise jurisdiction over Fort Bonifacio and several “embo” barangays.

“The [Court of Appeals] CA decision already lifted the injunction which prohibited Makati from exercising jurisdiction over the disputed area,” Dasal said in an August 7 text message.

BGC tax moratorium

Binay, meanwhile, unveiled Makati’s plans for the areas which used to belong to Taguig. According to a report on ABS-CBN, Makati will declare a moratorium on taxes in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) for the remaining quarters of 2013.

In the report, Binay said the moratorium will help businesses transition from Taguig to Makati’s tax scheme, which is higher.

Makati will begin collecting taxes from BGC business come January 2014 when they apply for business permits, he added. 

Taguig questioned why Binay was “in a rush” to take over Fort Bonifacio and the “embo” barangays. “It took 18 years [for the CA’s decision to be made]. Why the rush?” said Taguig Rep Lino Cayetano, the mayor’s brother in law. 

Mayor Cayetano questioned the “satisfaction” Makati mayor Binay got from making statements about Makati’s “takeover” of Fort Bonifacio. She was referring to statements made by Binay during press conferences and radio interviews on Tuesday.

“Why confuse the business men, the motorists, and residents? We know that this is not yet final and executory,” she said.

Lani Cayetano emphasized that Fort Bonifacio is “legally, historically, and factually” part of Taguig, a statement also made by her senator husband Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday.

While she did not give exact figures, Cayetano said Fort Bonifacio contributed a huge chunk to the city’s income, funding its social services.

Binay influence

When asked whether Vice President Jejomar Binay, father of Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay Jr., had sway over the CA ruling, Lani Cayetano said she did not want to comment. “We respect the Binay family.”

She added, however, that the younger Binay had yet to reach out to the Taguig government. “Unfortunately, they opted to hold press cons and radio interviews.” 

Lino Cayetano, a former barangay chairman of Fort Bonifacio, took exception to Binay’s claim that Makati will “claim what was lost in the span of 20 years,” referring to city revenues. “Para sabihin na may utang pa po kami sa kanila, masakit po sa aming mga taga Fort Bonifacio at Taguig,” he added. 

The Cayetanos also brought up the 2011 Pasig Regional Trial Court decision that sided with Taguig. “Magiging madali sana sa amin na magsabi that we’ll take over the University of Makati, the Hospital of Makati, because this is part of an area considered to be part of Taguig. Pero dahil tayo ay responsible leader and we respect the law, we chose to do what is right,” she added. 

The CA, however, reversed the lower court’s decision. The appeals court cited an earlier presidential proclamation that identified the contested barangays as part of Makati. – Rappler.com

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.