Pateros LGU confident in recovering Fort Bonifacio from Taguig 

Pateros Mayor Miguel Ponce III said they are ready and confident in winning a court case aimed at recovering lands, particularly Fort Bonifacio where Bonifacio Global City is located, from Taguig. 

This, after the Supreme Court, in a decision dated April 19 this year, granted Pateros’ petition for review and ordered the Pasig Regional Trial Court Branch 271 to reinstate Civil Case No. 73387-TG. 


The presentation made by the Pateros municipal government claiming that Pateros' original map showed it had an area of 1,040 hectares (Photo from the Pateros municipal government)


Pateros Mayor Miguel Ponce III (Photo from the Pateros municipal government)

The Supreme Court also reversed the Court of Appeals’ Jan. 29, 2015 decision and Sept. 24, 2015 resolution, which dismissed Pateros’ appeal on the May 10, 2013 resolution of the Pasig RTC Branch 271, which dismissed the case filed by Pateros under case 73387-TG. 

Case 73387-TG was filed by Pateros on March 27, 2012 before the Pasig RTC Branch 271 against Makati and Taguig, which sought “judicial declaration that Parcel 4 of Survey Plan Psu-2031 comprising about 766 ha., partly occupied by respondents Makati and Taguig, is within the territorial jurisdiction of Pateros,” according to the Supreme Court decision. 

“Well, of course, masaya tayo dahil favorable sa atin iyon. Dahil for the longest time, for almost 30 years, ay naghihintay kami na mabigyan ng tiyansa na maipresenta yung mga ebidensiya na mga hawak-hawak naming mga dokumento to prove na sa amin yang pinaglalabanan na iyan (Well, of course, we are happy because it’s favorable to us. Because for the longest time, for almost 30 years, we were waiting to be given the chance to present the evidence we are in possession of documents to prove that the disputed [lands] are ours),” Ponce told Manila Bulletin in an interview on May 30. 

The 766 hectares of land, identified as Parcel 4 Psu-2031, refer to Fort Bonifacio which includes the Bonifacio Global City. 

Ponce said the Pateros municipal government wants to recover Parcel 4 of Survey Plan Psu-2031. 

He said data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) would show that the land area of Pateros is 1,040 hectares as opposed to the present land area of less than 200 hectares. 

“Hindi naman pwedeng magikin na lang yan na bigla na lang kaming naging less than 200 hectares ng walang dahilan (It is not right that they did magic and suddenly we became less than 200 hectares without any reason),” he said. 

Ponce said they are seeking to recover the whole Bonifacio Global City and seven EMBO (Enlisted Men's Barrio) including Barangays Cembo, South Cembo, West Rembo, East Rembo, Comembo and Pembo. 

“I personally believe, kapag makikita nila yung mga dokumento namin, ito ay base pa dun sa mga lumang Spanish title na Hacienda de Maricaban at tsaka yung LC Map o Land Classification Map ng 2623 ay talagang maliwanag na yung buong Parcel 4 ay dapat nasa jurisdiction ng Pateros (I personally believe whey they see the documents we have, based on old Spanish title Hacienda de Maricaban at also the LC Map or Land Classification Map of 2623, it will clearly show that the whole Parcel 4 should be under the jurisdiction of Pateros),” he said. 

Pateros is the only local government in the National Capital Region which is not a city. It has the smallest population in the NCR with 65,227, according to PSA's 2020 data. 

Supreme Court decision 

The Supreme Court decision on Pateros is separate from its ruling on the Taguig versus Makati case in which the High Court determined that the “Fort Bonifacio Military Reservation, consisting of Parcels 3 and 4, Psu-2031, is confirmed to be part of the territory of the City of Taguig.”

In the Pateros decision, the Supreme Court clarified that “to recall, the Court in G.R. No. 235316 determined that ‘Taguig presented evidence that is more convincing and worthier of belief than that proffered by Makati.’ The decision was based mainly on the Court's appreciation of the evidence presented.” 

“Pateros was not a party to that case, and in fact sought to intervene but was denied by the trial court. It has not yet had an opportunity to present its own evidence to prove its allegation of a historical claim to the disputed area. With the ruling in G.R. No. 235316 that Fort Bonifacio -including the area subject matter of this case - is not within the territorial jurisdiction of Makati, it would seem at first blush that there is no longer any reason for Pateros to maintain suit against Makati,” the Supreme Court said. 

It added, “The Court however notes that in its complaint, Pateros seeks not just the recovery of territory, but also prays that both Makati and Taguig account for proceeds they have received while exercising jurisdiction over the disputed area. Pateros may thus, if it is still so inclined, maintain Makati as defendant to the case.”

Pateros ready 

Ponce said Pateros is ready for the land recovery case that will be heard by the Pasig RTC Branch 271. 

“Matagal na kaming ready kaya lang ay talagang medyo, hindi ko alam, napakaraming pangyayari na hindi kami nabigyan ng tiyansa. This time, after na ibaba ng Supreme Court yung hindi final, as far as Pateros is concerned, yung award sa Taguig na iyan dahil final lang iyan against Makati. Napakasaya natin dahil once and for all magkakaroon ng closure itong isyung ito. (We have been ready for so long but, I don’t know, there were many times that we were not given the chance. This time, after the Supreme Court issued the not yet final, as far as Pateros is concerned, the award to Taguig, which is only final against Makati. We are so happy because once and for all this issue will have closure),” said Ponce. 

The mayor said when Pateros wins the case and recovers the lands, it will bring huge benefits. Ponce said Pateros will become a city and funds will increase. 

While the Supreme Court told Pateros that it can include Makati as defendant in the civil case, Ponce said “we are not very interested with that.”

“(We are) very interested with the territorial. It yung teritoryo namin na kinuha nila. Actually hindi kinuha nila. Naibigay sa kanila na hindi kami napapakinggan. ((They took our territory. Actually they did not take it. It was given to them without us being heard),” said Ponce. 

Ponce said they are confident in winning the case and taking back the lands. 

“With our documents, with our evidence, I am very confident na hindi man namin makuha lahat, makukuha namin ang major portions at sa amin talaga iyon (With our documents, with our evidence, I am very confident that we may not get it all back, we will get the major portions and these are really ours),” he said.