Did SC re-open final ruling on Makati City-Taguig City land dispute?

Despite the finality early this year of the Supreme Court’s (SC) 2021 decision that declared as owned by the Taguig City government the 729-hectare Bonifacio Global City Complex and several barangays in Makati City, Mayor Abigail S. Binay claimed the High Court has set the issue for oral arguments.

Contacted for comment, SC Spokesperson Brian Keith F. Hosaka was quick to say that he does not know of any SC order setting the Makati City-Taguig City land dispute for oral arguments.

“If the Supreme Court has indeed issued such an order, it will be published on the website – sc.judiciary.gov.ph – and in the court’s social media accounts,” Hosaka said.

He said the SC’s decision on the case is already final.

The SC’s 2021 decision, written by Justice Ricardo R. Rosario, ruled that based on historical, documentary, and testimonial evidence, the contested areas fall within the territorial jurisdiction of Taguig City.

The decision declared permanent the 1994 injunction issued by the Pasig City regional trial court (RTC) which stopped the Makati City government “from exercising jurisdiction over, making improvements on, or otherwise treating as part of its territory Parcels 3 and 4, Psu 2031, comprising Fort Bonifacio, including the so-called Inner Fort comprising of Barangays Pembo, Comembo, Cembo, South Cembo, West Rembo, East Rembo and Pitogo.”

The Philippine Army headquarters, Navy installation, Marines’ headquarters, Consular area, JUSMAG area, Heritage Park, Libingan ng mga Bayani, AFP Officers Village and the so-called six villages are situated in the said areas.

“Considering the historical evidence adduced, cadastral surveys submitted, and the contemporaneous acts of lawful authorities, We find that Taguig presented evidence that is more convincing and worthier of belief than those proffered by Makati,” the SC ruled.

The Makati City government filed a motion for reconsideration.

But the SC denied the motion in a two-page resolution. “Acting on petitioner’s omnibus motion for reconsideration of the decision promulgated on Dec. 1, 2021, which denied the petition for review on certiorari, the Court resolves to deny the motion with finality, the basic issues therein raised having been duly considered and passed upon by the Court in the aforesaid decision,” the resolution stated.

Thereafter, an entry of judgment was issued by the SC which declared final its 2021 decision.

Earlier, Mayor Binay was quoted in newspaper reports as saying that Makati City is ready to defend its territorial jurisdiction before the SC on oral arguments.

She also said in the reports: “We received a document setting our omnibus motion for a hearing. That means it is not yet final. Part of our motion is to go before the en banc (full court) and have oral arguments.”