MANILA -- The Court of Appeals (CA) dismissed the motion for reconsideration filed by the Makati city government in connection with the rightful ownership claim of the 729-hectare Fort Andres Bonifacio, popularly known as “The Fort" or Fort Boni.

In a five-page decision penned by Associate Justice Edwin Sorongon and was concurred by Justices Ramon Cruz and Renato Franciso, the CA’s Special Former Sixth Division found no basis and denied the plea of Makati to reverse its decision dated March 8, 2017.

The CA added that Makati failed to present new arguments that would convince the court to reconsider its decision.

“We found nothing novel in the other arguments that were propounded in Makati’s Motion for reconsideration. These were but a rehash of the issues and arguments raised in its previous pleadings which have already been passed upon and duly addressed in our March 8, 2017 resolution, and which are unsubstantial to warrant a reconsideration thereof. Hence, we find no cogent reason to modify or reverse the said resolution,” the CA declared.

In a 18-page resolution promulgated on March 8, CA granted Taguig City's motion to dismiss citing Makati's violation of the forum shopping rule (or pursuing simultaneous remedies in two different courts) and accordingly dismissed the latter's appeal of the earlier decision of the Pasig City Regional Trial Court (RTC) which originally ruled in favor of Taguig.

Makati’s motion for reconsideration has sought liberal interpretation and application of the rules on forum shopping considering the transcendental importance involving public interests of the case.

Makati stressed that the CA’s decision would have a deep effect on political, economic and financial aspects of both Makati and Taguig and their respective constituents.

The CA, however, said Makati’s arguments were not sufficient to warrant the reversal of its March 8 decision.

“Guided by the Supreme Court’s categorical and emphatic pronouncements that Makati is guilty of willful and deliberate forum shopping in City of Taguig v. City of Makati, we reiterate that the dismissal of this appeal is but a necessary legal consequence of Makati’s own acts,” the CA noted.

“For it is well-entrenched in this jurisdiction that if the forum shopping is willful and deliberate, both actions (or all, if there are more than two) shall be dismissed without prejudice,” it added.

In its ruling on March 8, the CA took notice of the Supreme Court's decision on June 15, 2016 which found Makati guilty of "willful and deliberate forum shopping."

“However, the Supreme Court has not spoken. Ineluctably, we must adhere. The issue of whether Makati committed willful and deliberate forum shopping in these cases has been finally laid to rest no less than by the Supreme Court,” the CA said in a ruling.

“With this Supreme Court ruling and, in the absence of any justification on the part of Makati it cannot but draw the conclusion that Makati's simultaneous availment of the aforementioned reliefs is not a by-product of mere thoughtlessness or negligence but willful and deliberate act of forum shopping" which "has sowed conflicts between the courts,” the appellate court said.

The CA noted that it’s the second time that the SC has found Makati to have violated the rule on forum shopping.

“In deleterious effects, without a doubt, had set in. The necessary legal consequences of dismissal of this case must perforce follow,” the CA added.

The dispute between Taguig and Makati over BGC started in 1993 when Taguig filed a case against Makati before the Pasig City RTC contending "that the areas comprising the Enlisted Men's Barangays, or EMBOs, as well as the area referred to as Inner Fort in Fort Bonifacio, were within its territory and jurisdiction." The RTC ruled in favor of Taguig in July 2011.

In a ruling issued last year, the SC Second Division granted Taguig’s petition and cited the Makati City government in contempt for forum shopping in its legal tug-of-war with the former over jurisdiction on Fort Bonifacio.

It agreed with petitioner that the Makati government committed forum shopping when it simultaneously pursued legal remedies before the Pasig City RTC and the CA seeking same relief.

In July 2013, the CA’s Sixth Division issued granted the appeal of Makati City government assailing the July 8, 2011 order of the Pasig RTC.

The appellate court then ordered the Taguig City government to cease and desist from exercising jurisdiction over several areas within Fort Bonifacio which were earlier declared part of its territory.

These areas include 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).

The CA also declared as constitutional Presidential Proclamation No. 2475 issued by the late President Marcos on January 7, 1986, disregarding the claim of Taguig over Fort Bonifacio by stating that the same falls under the jurisdiction of Makati City.

Also declared as valid Proclamation No. 518, modifying Proclamation No. 2475 wherein it is stated that the said tracts of land are situated in Makati although they are parts of Fort Bonifacio. (PNA)