The Supreme Court (SC) has upheld the 2011 Pasig City regional trial court (RTC) ruling which declared the 729-hectare Bonifacio Global City Complex and several barangays in Makati City as owned by Taguig City government.

In a decision released on Wednesday, April 27, the SC ruled that based on historical, documentary, and testimonial evidence, the contested areas fall within the territorial jurisdiction of Taguig City.

The decision, written by Associate Justice Ricardo R. Rosario, declared permanent the 1994 injunction issued by the Pasig City 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 said.

“Consequently, we rule that Taguig has a superior claim to the disputed areas,” the SC added as it denied the petition filed by the Makati City government which wanted a reversal of the Court of Appeals (CA) decision which, effectively, ruled that the contested areas belong to Taguig City.

The Pasig City RTC declared unconstitutional Presidential Proclamations No. 2475, Series of 1986, and No. 518, Series of 1990, for altering the boundaries of Taguig without the benefit of a plebiscite.

“Taguig claims that Presidential Proclamation Nos. 2475, s. 1986, and 518 s. 1990 violate this constitutional guarantee when they altered Taguig’s boundaries without complying with the plebiscite requirement,” the SC said.

The SC said: “We note, however, that both the assailed proclamations did not expressly alter Taguig’s boundaries. Rather, they merely opened disposition on certain portions of the military reservation covered by Proclamation No. 423, s. of 1975 and amendments thereto. 

The assailed proclamations’ only error lies in the declarations that the disputed areas are within the jurisdiction of Makati.”

It added: “We thus reiterate our policy of constitutional avoidance, that is, if the controversy on the constitutionality of a statute can be settled on other grounds, this Court stays its hand from ruling on the constitutional issue.”

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