CA resolves land dispute in Global City

MANILA, Sept. 27 (PNA) — The Court of Appeals (CA) has ordered the Taguig City Regional Trial Court (RTC) to refer the parties to arbitration the dispute over a parcel of land in Bonifacio Global City (GBC), Taguig City.

In a 21-page ruling, the CA’s Special Seventh Division granted the petition filed by Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation (FBDC) and Bonifacio Estate Services Corporation (BESC).

The CA annulled and set aside the orders dated July 6, 2012 and July 8, 2013 rendered by the Taguig City RTC Branch 266 that denied petitioners’ motion to stay the proceedings and to refer case to arbitration and its motion for reconsideration (MR).

The FBDC and BESC filed a damage suit against Fort 1 Global City Center (Fort 1) and First Global Byo Corporation (FBBC) with the Taguig City RTC in 2010.

The complaint alleged that FBDC, the owner and developer of BGC, sold to Fort 1 a 1,547-square-meter parcel of land in the area under a Deed of Absolute Sale in 2009 which is covered by a Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) issued by the Taguig City’s Registry of Deeds.

It was allegedly agreed that all of its rights, title and interest on the lot shall be subject to, among others, the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (DCCR) and the Design Standards and Guidelines (DSG) of BGC.

The same were appended to the Deed of Absolute Sale and made integral parties thereof.

However, BESC’s Inspection Team was supposedly refused entry and was sprayed with water coming from the building’s water pump, forcibly driving them away in December 2009.

In their complaint, FBDC and BESC claimed that the unjustified refusal to permit inspection violates the DCCR and the agreement and that their companies are liable for nominal and exemplary damages, attorney’s fees and costs of suit.

In its petition, FBDC and BESC asked the Taguig City RTC to refer the dispute to arbitration until the case reached the CA.

In its Aug. 20, 2015 ruling written by Associate Justice Elihu Ybanez, the CA said that the fact that only FBDC and Fort 1 signed the Deed of Absolute Sale does not bar the referral of the case to arbitration, “since the law is clear that courts shall not decline to refer case to arbitration on the ground that some parties are not bound by the arbitration agreement.”

The CA found that “the [RTC] a quo committed a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in denying petitioners’ [motion] despite a valid and binding arbitration clause embodied in the DCCR which formed an integral part of the Deed of Absolute Sale duly signed by the parties.”

Concurring in the ruling were Associate Justices Magdangal De Leon and Myra Garcia-Fernandez. (PNA)