Once and for all, the 30-year long dispute between the two cities has now finalized.
The high tribunal affirmed its 2021 decision that the Fort Bonifacio Military Reservation, where BGC is located and was the center of the dispute between the neighboring cities, is within the territorial jurisdiction of Taguig City based on a resolution dated on September 28, 2022.
By putting an end to the land dispute, the Supreme Court will no longer entertain further pleadings, motions, or letters regarding the 729-hectare BGC and several barangays in Makati.
TIMELINE: The BGC Land Dispute
1993: Start of Land Dispute Between Taguig and Makati
In 1993, Taguig filed a complaint against Makati before the Pasig Regional Trial Court (RTC) regarding the two's territorial dispute over the Enlisted Men’s Barangays (EMBOs)—which includes Barangays Pembo, Comembo, Cembo, South Cembo, West Rembo, East Rembo and Pitogo—and the entirety of Fort Andres Bonifacio.
The city also asked that two former presidential proclamations be declared null and void: Presidential proclamations 2475, issued in 1986 by Ferdinand Marcos, and 518 issued in 1990 by Corazon Aquino. These two proclamations placed certain areas of the Enlisted Men's Barangays to be under Makati City jurisdiction.
If we go further back, the beginnings of the area as being under either city started when President Carlos P. Garcia issued Proclamation 423 in 1957, creating military reservation Fort Bonifacio out of the old American base of Fort McKinley. Makati was not mentioned at all in the proclamation.
When the Bases Conversion and Development Authority was established in 1992, it also created a map, survey plan PSU-2031, wherein Fort McKinley was divided into four parcels: Parcel 1 located in Pasay, Parcel 2 in Pasay and Paranaque, Parcel 3 in Taguig, and Parcel 4 located in Taguig and Pasig.
2011: Pasig court rules in favor of Taguig
In 2011, the Pasig court ruled in favor of Taguig, making Parcels 3 and 4 of Psu-2031, comprising Fort Bonifacio, a permanent part of Taguig. The decision also said Makati has no jurisdiction over, make improvements on, or treat the disputed areas as part of its territory.
2013: Court of Appeals rules in favor of Makati
After the 2011 decision, Makati filed for reconsideration at the Pasig court, while also filing a petition for annulment of judgment with the Court of Appeals (CA). When the RTC denied Makati's motion, they then filed another appeal—resulting in Taguig arguing that Makati was forum shopping.
In July 2013, the CA ruled in favor of Makati being the rightful owner of BGC. A few months later in September, Taguig brought the case to the SC, again arguing that Makati was abusing the legal process. In 2016, the Supreme Court finds the three lawyers of Makati City guilty of contempt and imposes a P2,000-fine on each, according to CNN.
2017: Court of Appeals rules in favor of Taguig
A few years later, the CA then rules that Taguig is indeed the owner. The court granted Taguig's motion to dismiss, filed against Makati, having taken note of the Supreme Courts earlier June 2016 decision pointing to the former's engaging in forum shopping.
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2021: Supreme Court rules in favor of Taguig
Makati then elevated its dispute to the Supreme Court, which in December 2021 decided in favor of Taguig. The SC formally denied the Petition for Review on Certiorari filed by Makati on the 2017 decisions by both itself and the CA.
2022: SC upholds decision
In September 2022, SC's Special Third Division upheld its decision with finality.
It reinstated three rulings "with modification: from the original 2011 decision of the Pasig RTC, quoted in whole below:
- 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.
- The Writ of Preliminary Injunction dated August 2, 1994 issued by the RTC of Pasig, explicitly referring to Parcels 3 and 4, Psu-2031, comprising Fort Bonifacio, be made PERMANENT insofar as it enjoined the Municipality, now City of Makati, from exercising jurisdiction over, making improvements on, or otherwise treating as part of its territory, Parcels 3 and 4, Psu-2031, comprising Fort Bonifacio.
- Ordering City of Makati to pay the costs of the suit.
2023: SC denies Makati’s motion over land dispute with Taguig
The Supreme Court has rejected the Makati City government's motion asking the high court to allow it to file a second motion for reconsideration over its territorial dispute with Taguig City.
In a press release, the SC PIO said its Special Third Division resolved to deny the Makati government’s second omnibus notion.
“Consequently, the Court noted without action the City of Makati’s second motion for reconsideration challenging the Court’s decision dated December 1, 2021. A second motion for reconsideration is generally prohibited under the Rules of Court,” it said.
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Taguig City said this victory "marks the beginning of a new chapter for Taguig and its people."
"In a way, Taguig is not the only victor in this legal contest. In a bigger sense, with both parties putting their trust in the legal system, it is the rule of law which prevailed," it said in a statement.