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Pateros loses claim on Fort Boni lots

The Court of Appeals has dismissed the claim of Pateros municipal government over the ownership of certain parcels of land inside Fort Bonifacio, leaving the controversial territorial dispute between the cities of Makati and Taguig.

In a two-page resolution, the CA’s Former Ninth Division through Associate Justice Magdangal de Leon denied the motion filed by the Pateros municipality seeking the reversal of its  Feb. 5 decision which affirmed the Pasig City Regional Trial Court’s ruling dismissing its complaint for the judicial declaration and confirmation of certail parcels of land located within its territorial jurisdiction.

The appellate court ruled that the petitioner failed to raise new arguments to warrant the reversal of its ruling.

“Finding the matters raised by appellant are a mere rehash of its previous arguments, and there being no cogent reason to modify, much less, reverse our assailed Jan. 29, 2015 decision, the instant motion for reconsideration dated Feb. 19, 2015 is denied,” the CA declared.

Associate Justices Jane Aurora Lantion and Victoria Isabel Paredes concurred with the ruling.

In its  Feb. 5  decision, the appellate court  held that there was no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Pasig City RTC when it dismissed the complaint of Pateros for lack of jurisdiction.

The RTC resolved that it cannot exercise jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case, due to the failure of the municiplaity of Pateros to comply with Sections 118 and 119 of the Local Government Code.

Section 118 mandates that boundary disputes involving a component city or municipality   on the one hand and a highly urbanized city on the other, shall be jointly referred for settlement to the respective Sanggunians of the parties.

Section 19, on the other hand, provides that any party may elevate the decision of the Sanggunian concerned to the proper Regional Trial Court having jurisdiction over the area in dispute.

The appellate court emphasized that the complaint brought before the RTC was not a case where the sanggunians concerned   jointly rendered a decision resolving the boundary dispute of the parties concerned.

 It noted that what preceded the case below were   resolutions that reflect unilateral acts of the Sangguniang Bayan of Pateros.

The Pateros municipal government’s complaint covers seven barangays which include Cembo, South Cembo, West Rembo, East Rembo, Comembo, Pembo and Pitogo with an aggregate area of 3,044,568 square meters.

The said barangays have been declared as part of Makati’s territory by virtue of Proclamations No. 2475 and 518 issued on January 7, 1986 and January 31, 1991 by former Presidents Ferdinand Marcos and Corazon Aquino, respectively.

The ownership of the said barangays is also being claimed by the Taguig City government based on its complaint that was filed on September 21, 1993 against Makati which is until now pending before the CA.

In a ruling issued on July 30, 2013 decision, the Court of Appeals declared that the said property   belongs to the Makati Cty government. 

Taguig City   has filed a motion for reconsideration of the decision which is until now   pending before the CA. 

The Pateros municipal government invoked the 1885 Plano de Provincial de Manila, the 1901 Map of Luzon Island and the 1891 Plano de Hacienda de Maricaban in claiming ownership over the said barangays.

It pointed out that it has been exercising jurisdiction over the disputed properties since 1801, when it was declared an independent town. 

It recounted that its land area was reduced during the American regime when the latter built and exercised authority over the military reservation known as Fort William McKinley.

It added   that even after the declaration of Philippine Independence in 1946, when Fort William McKinley was ceded to the Philippine government and renamed as Fort Bonifacio it continued to exercise jurisdiction over the parcel of land. 

The Pateros municipal government also cited Proclamation No, 481 by former President Diosdado Macapagal, which allegedly stated that a certain portion of the land embraceed in said proclamation was part of Pateros.

Pateros said it   lost control of the properties following the issuance of Proclamation Nos. 2475 and 518.

It has sought the nullification of the two proclamations in its original complaint filed before the Pasig City RTC. 

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