CA sides with SM in property row with PEA
MANILA, Philippines - The Court of Appeals affirmed its ruling ordering the Philippine Estates Authority (PEA) to transfer the ownership of a Pasay City property to Shoemart Inc., in accordance with its joint venture agreement signed in 1994.
In a two-page resolution by Associate Justice Michael Elbinias, the CA's Thirteenth Division maintained the PEA failed to make new arguments that would require the reversal of its decision issued last February 27, 2013.
"After careful study of all the allegations in defendant-appellant’s motion for reconsideration, and after re-evaluation of the records, no cogent and compelling reasons were found to justify the modification or reversal of our decision, which, by this opportunity, has also been reviewed to have had proper and reasonable bases," the CA said.
PEA and SM are in a dispute over the joint venture agreement for the development of the Central Business Park 1, Island A in Pasay City. Under the agreement, PEA should be responsible for the relocation of squatters on the development site. SM, on the other hand, would assist and provide funds for the relocation of the squatters.
SM had agreed to release P85 million for the purpose of relocating the squatters in CBP 1-A. In November 1999, PEA said the appraisal value of the property is P4,410 per square meter, which meant the P85 million advanced by SM is equivalent in land area of 19,274 square meters. SM identified a property at Block D as PEA's repayment for the P85 million,
However, in 2005, SM filed a “complaint for specific performance” against PEA due to the latter's failure to turn over the property despite SM’s full payment of the advance amount.
PEA said "it is deemed prudent” to seek first the guidance of the Commission on Audit on the appraisal value of the property.
The CA, in its February 27, 2013 decision, dismissed the argument of PEA. The Court noted that since the joint venture agreement and deed of undertaking it executed with SM showed that the valuation of the land was to be based at the time of the drawdown.
"The Deed of Undertaking, Agreement and JVA, were the best evidence of the intention of the parties, because they contained all the terms agreed upon by defendant-appellant PEA and plaintiff-appellee Sy," the CA said.
"Thus, if the parties wanted the valuation of the land to be that as of the time that plaintiff- appellee Sy made the choice, and not at the time of drawdown, then such contracts − Deed of Undertaking, Agreement and JVA − would have stated so," it added.
The CA even noted PEA General Manager Carlos P. Doble had confirmed the value of the land at the time of the drawdown to be at P 4,410.00 per square meter, which was equivalent to 19,274 square meters.
"A reading of defendant-appellant’s motion for reconsideration shows that the arguments raised by defendant-appellant had already been considered and passed upon by us when we rendered the decision dated February 27, 2013 that is sought to be considered," it said.
Associate Justices Isaias Dicdican and Nina Antonio-Valenzuela concurred with the ruling.