Published: August 5, 2013The Court of Appeals (CA) has ruled that the 729-hectare Fort Andres Bonifacio is part of Makati City and owned by the city government.
The 729-hectare property includes the so-called military barangays comprising of Cembo, South Cembo, East Rembo, West Rembo, Comembo, Pembo and Pitogo as well as the Inner Fort Barangays (Barangay Post Proper Northside and Barangay Post Proper Southside).
In a decision written by Associate Justice Marlene Gonzales-Sison, the CA directed Taguig City “to immediately cease and desist from exercising jurisdiction within the disputed area and return the same to Makati City.”
With the decision, the CA declared as constitutional Presidential Proclamation No. 2475 issued by the late President Ferdinand Marcos on January 7, 1986.
Also declared constitutional by the CA was Proclamation No. 518 which stated that the tracts of land, while in Makati City, are parts of Fort Bonifacito. It amended Proclamation No. 2475.
In its decision, the CA said that the Pasig City regional trial court (RTC) committed an error in declaring the two proclamations as unconstitutional and invalid as they altered boundaries and transferred the disputed areas from Taguig City to Makati City.
It pointed out that since 1970 the seven military barangays have been indicated as parts of Makati City and that all the residents have been voting as Makati City voters in local and national elections
“Hence, Presidential Proclamation Nos. 2475 and 518 did not alter boundaries instead confirmed that said area is under the jurisdiction of Makati,” the CA ruled.
At the same time, the CA noted the delay on the part of Taguig City to file its complaint.
It said that Proclamation 2475 was enacted in 1986 while Proclamation 518 was issued 1990, but Taguig only filed the complaint in 1993 when the proposed cityhood of Makati was being debated in Congress.
Citing a Supreme Court decision, the CA said that “considerable delay in asserting one’s right before a court of justice is strongly persuasive of the lack of merit of his claim, since it is human nature for a person to enforce his right when same is threatened or invaded.”
Associate Justices Hakim Abdulwahid and Edwin Sorongon concurred in the decision.