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LOCGOV - 011 Buklod ng Magbubukid sa Lupaing Ramos, Inc. v. E.M. Ramos and !

"011#

ons, Inc.

Doctrine: A state may not impair vested rights by legislative enactment, by the enactment or by the subsequent repeal of a municipal ordinance, or by a change in the constitution of the State, except in a legitimate exercise of the police power. $ac%s& !'(R)I)G& I%*s a l+ng%,- cas+.# - Nature: Consolidated Petitions for Review on Certiorari filed by the Buklod ng Magbubukid Sa Lupaing Ramos !n"# $Buklod% and the &epartment of 'grarian Regorm $&'R% assailing a de"ision of the Court of 'ppeals in whi"h it de"lared the par"els of land owned by (#M# Ramos and Sons !n"# $(MR'S)N% in Cavite e*empt from the "overage of the Comprehensive 'grarian Reform Program $C'RP% thus nullifying and setting aside the &e"ision of the )ffi"e of the President# - Several par"els of unirrigated land whi"h form part of a larger e*panse originally owned by the Manila +olf and Country Club was a,uired by (MR'S)N for the purpose of developing the same into a residential subdivision known as -.raveller/s Life 0omes-# - .he Muni"ipal Coun"il of &asmari1as Cavite a"ting pursuant to Republi" '"t No# 2234 otherwise known as the -Lo"al 'utonomy '"t- ena"ted Muni"ipal )rdinan"e No# 5 entitled -'n )rdinan"e Providing Subdivision Regulation and Providing Penalties for 6iolation .hereof#- (MR'S)N applied for an authority to "onvert and development its property into a residential subdivision# .hem Muni"ipal Coun"il of &asmari1as Cavite passed Muni"ipal )rdinan"e No# 278' approving (MR'S)N/s appli"ation# - .he a"tual implementation of the subdivision pro9e"t suffered delay be"ause the property was mortgaged to and the titles thereto were in the possession of the )verseas Bank of Manila whi"h during the period material was under li,uidation# - )n :une 5;# 57<< Republi" '"t No# 33;= otherwise known as the Comprehensive 'grarian Reform Law or C'RL took effe"t ushering in a new pro"ess of land "lassifi"ation a",uisition and distribution# .hen "ame the ',uino government/s plan to "onvert the tenanted neighboring property of the National &evelopment Company $N&C% into an industrial estate to be managed through a 9oint venture s"heme by N&C and the Marubeni Corporation# Part of the overall "onversion pa"kage "alled for providing the tenant8farmers opting to remain at the N&C property with three he"tares ea"h# 0owever the si>e of the N&C property turned out to be insuffi"ient for both the demands of the proposed industrial pro9e"t as well as the government/s "ommitment to the tenant8farmers# .o address this "ommitment the &epartment of 'grarian Reform $&'R% was thus tasked with a",uiring additional lands from the nearby areas# .he &'R earmarked for this purpose the sub9e"t property of (MR'S)N# &'R Se"retary Ben9amin Leong sent out the first of four bat"hes of noti"es of a",uisition ea"h of whi"h drew protest from (MR'S)N# - (MR'S)N filed with the &'R'B separate petitions to nullify the noti"es# .he Legal &ivision of &'R rendered a de"ision de"laring as null and void all the noti"es of a",uisitions observing that the property "overed thereby is pursuant to &epartment of :usti"e $&):% )pinion No# 44 series of 577? e*empt from C'RP# Supposedly this was pursuant to a &): )pinion rendered by then :usti"e Se"retary @ranklin &rilon "larifying that lands already "onverted to non8agri"ultural uses before :une 5; 57<< were no longer "overed by C'RP# - Region !6 &'R Regional &ire"tor motu propio elevated the "ase to the )ffi"e of the 'grarian Reform Se"retary# &'R Se"retary (rnesto +arilao issued an order affirming the Noti"es of '",uisition MR denied 8A 'ppeal to the )ffi"e of the President - 'ppeal dismissed by )P be"ause (MR'S)NBs property has supposedly remained agri"ultural in "lassifi"ation and thus within the "overage of the C'RP be"ause it failed to "omply with the mandatory re,uirements and "onditions of Muni"ipal )rdinan"e Nos# 5 and 278' spe"ifi"ally among others the need for approval of the National Planning Commission through the 0ighway &istri"t (ngineer and the

Bureau of Lands before final submission to the Muni"ipal Coun"il and Muni"ipal Mayor and there was a "ertifi"ation of the 0uman Settlements Regulatory Commission $0SRC% in 57<5 and the 0ousing and Land Cse Regulatory Board $0LRB% in 5772 that the property is agri"ultural MR denied Petition for Review with the C' &'R had already prepared Certifi"ates of Land )wnership 'ward $CL)'s% to distribute the sub9e"t property to farmer8benefi"iaries# 0owever a writ of preliminary in9un"tion issued by the Court of 'ppeals en9oined the release of the CL)'s# Buklod on behalf of the alleged D?? farmer8benefi"iaries of the sub9e"t property filed a Manifestation and )mnibus Motion wherein it moved that it be allowed to intervene as an indispensable party# Court of 'ppeals ruled in favor of (MR'S)N be"ause the sub9e"t property was already "onvertedE"lassified as residential by the Muni"ipality of &asmari1as prior to the effe"tivity of the C'RL# .he appellate "ourt reasoned mainly that FGthe muni"ipality "onformably with its statutory8"onferred lo"al autonomy had passed a subdivision measure !#e# )rdinan"e No# 5 and had approved in line thereto through the medium of )rdinan"e No# 278' H(MR'S)N/sI appli"ation for subdivision or with like effe"t approved the "onversionE"lassifi"ation of the lands in dispute as residential# Signifi"antly the Muni"ipal Mayor of &asmari1as Cavite in his letter of September 2D 57<< to H(MR'S)NI "larified that su"h "onversion "onforms with the approved development plan of the muni"ipalityJ# $ f interested in the discussion at CA level, please read the case!

.+%i%ion+/*s a/gum+n%s& - &'R: o .he sub9e"t property "ould be "ompulsorily a",uired by the State from (MR'S)N and distributed to ,ualified farmer8benefi"iaries under the C'RP sin"e it was still agri"ultural land when the C'RP be"ame effe"tive on :une 5; 57<<# )rdinan"e Nos# 5 and 278' approved by the Muni"ipality of &asmari1as on :uly 5D 57=5 and :uly 7 57=2 respe"tively did not re"lassify the sub9e"t property from agri"ultural to non8agri"ultural# .he power to re"lassify lands is an inherent power of the National Legislature under +c%ion 0 o1 Common2+al%, (c% )o. 131, o%,+/2is+ kno2n as %,+ .ublic Land (c% as amended whi"h absent a spe"ifi" delegation "ould not be e*er"ised by any lo"al government unit $L+C%# 4,+ Local (u%onom- (c% o1 1050 8 in effe"t when the Muni"ipality of &asmari1as approved )rdinan"e Nos# 5 and 278' 8 merely delegated to "ities and muni"ipalities >oning authority to be understood as the regulation of the uses of property in a""ordan"e with the e*isting "hara"ter of the land and stru"tures# !t was only +c%ion "0 o1 R+public (c% )o. 6170, o%,+/2is+ kno2n as %,+ Local Gov+/nm+n% Cod+ o1 1001 whi"h e*tended to "ities and muni"ipalities limited authority to re"lassify agri"ultural lands# o (ven "on"eding that "ities and muni"ipalities were already authori>ed in 57=2 to issue an ordinan"e re"lassifying lands from agri"ultural to non8agri"ultural )rdinan"e No# 278' of the Muni"ipality of &asmari1as was not valid sin"e it failed to "omply with +c%ion 8 o1 %,+ Local (u%onom- (c% o1 1050, +c%ion 17!a# o1 O/dinanc+ )o. 1 o1 %,+ Municipali%- o1 9asma/inas, and (dminis%/a%iv+ O/d+/ )o. 15" whi"h all re,uired review and approval of su"h an ordinan"e by the National Planning Commission $NPC%# Subse,uent developments further ne"essitated review and approval of )rdinan"e No# 278' by the 0uman Settlements Regulatory Commission $0SRC% whi"h later be"ame the 0ousing and Land Cse Regulatory Board $0LCRB%# o Relian"e by the Court of 'ppeals on Natalia Realty, Inc. v. Department of Agrarian Reform is mispla"ed be"ause the lands involved therein were "onverted from agri"ultural to residential use by Presidential Pro"lamation No# 53D= issued pursuant to the authority delegated to the President under Se"tion =5 et seq. of the Publi" Land '"t#

Buklod: o Prior to )rdinan"e Nos# 5 and 278' there were already laws implementing agrarian reform parti"ularly: $5% R+public (c% )o. 8:33, o%,+/2is+ kno2n as %,+ (g/icul%u/al Land R+1o/m Cod+ in effe"t sin"e 'ugust < 573D and subs+;u+n%l- am+nd+d b- R+public (c% )o. 78:0 on September 5? 57=5 after whi"h it be"ame kno2n as %,+ Cod+ o1 (g/a/ian R+1o/ms K and $2% ./+sid+n%ial 9+c/++ )o. "6, o%,+/2is+ kno2n as %,+ 4+nan%s Emancipa%ion 9+c/++ whi"h took effe"t on November 57 57=2# 'gri"ultural land "ould not be "onverted for the purpose of evading land reform for there were already laws granting farmer8tenants se"urity of tenure prote"tion from e9e"tment without 9ust "ause and vested rights to the land they work on# o (MR'S)N failed to "omply with +c%ion 87 o1 %,+ Cod+ o1 (g/a/ian R+1o/ms whi"h provided that the "onversion of land should be implemented within one year otherwise the "onversion is deemed in bad faith# +iven the failure of (MR'S)N to "omply with many other re,uirements for a valid "onversion the sub9e"t property has remained agri"ultural# Simply put no "omplian"e means no "onversion# !n fa"t Buklod points out the sub9e"t property is still de"lared as -agri"ultural- for real estate ta* purposes# Conse,uently (MR'S)N is now estopped from insisting that the sub9e"t property is a"tually -residential#o Land /+1o/m is a cons%i%u%ional manda%+ 2,ic, s,ould b+ giv+n pa/amoun% consid+/a%ion. Pursuant to said "onstitutional mandate the Legislature ena"ted the C'RP# !t is a basi" legal prin"iple that a legislative statute prevails over a mere muni"ipal ordinan"e# 'R+CM(N. M)S. R(L(6'N. .) .0( .)P!C

R+spond+n%*s a/gum+n%s& - (MR'S)N: o .he sub9e"t property is e*empt from C'RP be"ause it had already been re"lassified as residential with the approval of O/dinanc+ )o. "0-( by the Muni"ipality# (MR'S)N "ites Ortigas & Co., Ltd. Partnership v. eati !an" and #r$st Co where this Court ruled that a muni"ipal "oun"il is empowered to adopt >oning and subdivision ordinan"es or regulations und+/ +c%ion 8 o1 %,+ Local (u%onom- (c% o1 1050 # (MR'S)N avows that the Muni"ipality of &asmari1as taking into a""ount the "onditions prevailing in the area "ould validly >one and re"lassify the sub9e"t property in the e*er"ise of its poli"e power in order to safeguard the health safety pea"e good order and general welfare of the people in the lo"ality# (MR'S)N des"ribes the whole area surrounding the sub9e"t property as residential subdivisions $ i.e# &on +regorio Metro +ate 6ine 6illage and Cityland +reenbree>e 5 and 2 Subdivisions% and industrial estates $i.e. Reynolds 'luminum Philippines !n"# fa"toryK N&C8Marubeni industrial "omple* San Miguel Corporation8Monterey "attle and piggery farm and slaughterhouse% traversed by national highways $i.e# (milio 'guinaldo National 0ighway .re"e Martire> Puerto '>ul Road and +overnor/s &rive%# (MR'S)N mentions that on Mar"h 2; 57<< the Sangguniang "anlalawigan of the Provin"e of Cavite passed R+solu%ion )o. 105 whi"h de"lared the area where sub9e"t property is lo"ated as -industrial8 residential8institutional mi*#o )rdinan"e No# 278' of the Muni"ipality of &asmari1as is valid# )rdinan"e No# 278' is "omplete in itself and there is no more need to "omply with the alleged re,uisites whi"h &'R and Buklod are insisting upon# (MR'S)N ,uotes from Patalingh$g v. Co$rt of Appeals that -on"e a lo"al government has re"lassified an area as "ommer"ial that determination for >oning purposes must prevail#o )rdinan"e No# 278' re"lassifying the sub9e"t property was approved by the Muni"ipality of &asmari1as on :uly 7 57=2# E<+cu%iv+ O/d+/ )o. 73:, o%,+/2is+ kno2n as %,+ C,a/%+/ o1 %,+ =uman +%%l+m+n%s

R+gula%o/- Commission != RC C,a/%+/# 8 whi"h "onferred upon the 0SRC the power and duty to review evaluate and approve or disapprove "omprehensive land use and development plans and >oning ordinan"es of L+Cs 8 was issued only on @ebruary = 57<5# .he e*er"ise by 0SRC of su"h power "ould not be applied retroa"tively to this "ase without impairing vested rights of (MR'S)N# .here is no absolute ne"essity of submitting )rdinan"e No# 278' to the NPC for approval# Based on the language of +c%ion 8 o1 %,+ Local (u%onom(c% o1 1050 whi"h used the word -may - review by the NPC of the lo"al planning and >oning ordinan"es was merely permissive# (MR'S)N additionally posits that )rdinan"e No# 5 of the Muni"ipality of &asmari1as simply re,uired approval by the NPC of the final plat or plan map or "hart of the subdivision and not of the re"lassifi"ation andEor "onversion by the Muni"ipality of the sub9e"t property from agri"ultural to residential# 's for (dminis%/a%iv+ O/d+/ )o. 15" dated &e"ember 53 573< it was dire"ted to and should have been "omplied with by the "ity and muni"ipal boards and "oun"ils# .hus (MR'S)N should not be made to suffer for the non8"omplian"e by the Muni"ipal Coun"il of &asmarinas with said administrative order# Sin"e the sub9e"t property was already re"lassified as residential with the mere approval of )rdinan"e No# 278' by the Muni"ipality of &asmarinas (MR'S)N did not have to immediately undertake a"tual development of the sub9e"t property# Re"lassifi"ation andEor "onversion of a par"el of land are different from the implementation of the "onversion# Buklod members are not farmer8tenants of the sub9e"t property# .he sub9e"t property has no farmer8tenants be"ause as the Court of 'ppeals observed the property is unirrigated and not devoted to any agri"ultural a"tivity# .he sub9e"t property was pla"ed under the C'RP only to a""ommodate the farmer8 tenants of the N&C property who were displa"ed by the N&C8Marubeni !ndustrial Pro9e"t# Moreover the Buklod members are still undergoing a s"reening pro"ess before the &'R8Region !6 and are yet to be de"lared as ,ualified farmer8benefi"iaries of the sub9e"t property# 0en"e Buklod members tailed to establish they already have vested right over the sub9e"t property#

Issu+>s& Lhether the sub9e"t property "ould be pla"ed under the C'RP =+ld>Ra%io& SC affirms the Court of 'ppeals and rules in favor of (MR'S)N# - CARP coverage limited to agric$lt$ral land o Se"tion 4 Chapter !! of the C'RL as amended 24 parti"ularly defines the "overage of the C'RP to wit: S(C# 4# Scope. 8 .he Comprehensive 'grarian Reform Law of 57<< shall "over regardless of tenurial arrangement and "ommodity produ"ed all public and p/iva%+ ag/icul%u/al lands as provided in Pro"lamation No# 5D5 and (*e"utive )rder No# 227 in"luding other lands of the publi" domain suitable for agri"ulture: "rovided .hat landholdings of landowners with a total area of five $;% he"tares and below shall not be "overed for a",uisition and distribution to ,ualified benefi"iaries# More spe"ifi"ally the following lands are "overed by the C'RL: $d% (ll p/iva%+ lands d+vo%+d %o o/ sui%abl+ 1o/ ag/icul%u/+ /+ga/dl+ss o1 %,+ ag/icul%u/al p/oduc%s /ais+d o/ %,a% can b+ /ais+d %,+/+on. Se"tion D$"% Chapter ! of the C'RL further narrows down the definition of agricultural land that is sub9e"t to C'RL to -land devoted to agri"ultural a"tivity as defined in this '"t and not "lassified as mineral forest residential "ommer"ial or industrial land#- .he C'RL took effe"t on ?un+ 15, 10::# .o be e*empt from the C'RL the sub9e"t property should have already been re"lassified as residential prior to said date# - #he Local A$tonomy Act of %&'& o .he Lo"al 'utonomy '"t of 57;7 pre"ursor of the Lo"al +overnment Code of 5775 provided: S(C# D# Additional powers of provincial boards, municipal

boards or city councils and municipal and regularly organi#ed municipal district councils# 8 * * * "ower to adopt #oning and planning ordinances # M 'ny provision of law to the "ontrary notwithstanding Muni"ipal Boards or City Coun"ils in "ities and Muni"ipal Coun"ils in muni"ipalities are hereby authori>ed to adop% @oning and subdivision o/dinanc+s o/ /+gula%ions for their respe"tive "ities and muni"ipalities sub9e"t to the approval of the City Mayor or Muni"ipal Mayor as the "ase may be# Cities and muni"ipalities ma-, ,o2+v+/, consul% %,+ )a%ional .lanning Commission on matters pertaining to planning and >oning# o .he Court observes that the )P the Court of 'ppeals and even the parties themselves referred to Resolution No# 278' as an ordinan"e# 'lthough it may not be its offi"ial designation "alling Resolution No# 278' as )rdinan"e No# 278 ' is not "ompletely ina""urate# )rtigas N Co# "ase the Court found it immaterial that the then Muni"ipal Coun"il of Mandaluyong de"lared "ertain lots as part of the "ommer"ial and industrial >one through a resolution rather than an ordinan"e be"ause:Se"tion D of R#'# No# 2234 otherwise known as the Lo"al 'utonomy '"t empowers a Muni"ipal Coun"il -to adopt >oning and subdivision ordinan"es or regulations- for the muni"ipality# Clearly %,+ la2 docs no% /+s%/ic% %,+ +<+/cis+ o1 %,+ po2+/ %,/oug, an o/dinanc+# .herefore granting that Resolution No# 2= is not an ordinan"e it "ertainly is a /+gula%o/- m+asu/+ 2i%,in %,+ in%+ndm+n% o/ ambi% o1 %,+ 2o/d A/+gula%ionA under the provision# 's a matter oi/ fa"t the same se"tion de"lares that the power e*ists -$'%ny provision of law to the "ontrary notwithstanding * * *#Lhile the sub9e"t property may be physi"ally lo"ated within an agri"ultural >one under the 57<5 Comprehensive Ooning )rdinan"e of &asmarinas said property retained its residential "lassifi"ation# '""ording to Se"tion 5= the Repealing Clause of the 57<5 Comprehensive Ooning )rdinan"e of &asmarinas: -'0 other ordinan"es rules or regulations in "onfli"t with the provision of this )rdinan"e are hereby repealed: Provided that /ig,%s %,a% ,av+ v+s%+d b+1o/+ %,+ +11+c%ivi%- o1 %,is O/dinanc+ s,all no% b+ impai/+d#o Ayog v. Cusi, $r.: .hat vested right has to be respe"ted# !t "ould not be abrogated by the new Constitution# Se"tion 2 'rti"le P!!! of the 57D; Constitution allows private "orporations to pur"hase publi" agri"ultural lands not e*"eeding one thousand and twenty8four he"tares# Petitioners/ prohibition a"tion is barred by the do"trine of vested rights in "onstitutional law# o .he due pro"ess "lause prohibits the annihilation of vested rights# - ( s%a%+ ma- no% impai/ v+s%+d /ig,%s b- l+gisla%iv+ +nac%m+n%, b- %,+ +nac%m+n% o/ b- %,+ subs+;u+n% /+p+al o1 a municipal o/dinanc+, o/ b- a c,ang+ in %,+ cons%i%u%ion o1 %,+ %a%+, +<c+p% in a l+gi%ima%+ +<+/cis+ o1 %,+ polic+ po2+/' law ena"ted in the e*er"ise of poli"e power to regulate or govern "ertain a"tivities or transa"tions "ould be given retroa"tive effe"t and may reasonably impair vested rights or "ontra"ts# Poli"e power legislation is appli"able not only to future "ontra"ts but e,ually to !hose already in e*isten"e# Non8impairment of "ontra"ts or vested rights "lauses will have to yield to the superior and legitimate e*er"ise by the State of poli"e power to promote the health morals pea"e edu"ation good order safety and general welfare of the people * * *# (MR'S)N mentions Resolution No# 5?; &efining and &e"laring the Boundaries of !ndustrial and Residential Land Cse Plan in the Muni"ipalities of !mus and Parts of &asmariflas Carmona +en# Mariano 'lvare> +en# .rias Silang .an>a Nai" Rosario and .re"e Martires City Provin"e oH Cavite approved by the Sangguniang "anlalawigan of Cavite on Mar"h 2; 57<<# .he Sangguniang "anlalawigan determined that -the lands e*tending from the said designated industrial areas would have greater e"onomi" value for residential and institutional uses and would serve the interest and welfare for the greatest good of the greatest number of people#-;?

Resolution No# 5?; approved by the 0LCRB in 577? partly reads: .ra"ts of land in the Muni"ipality of Carmona from the People/s .e"hnology Comple* to parts of the Muni"ipality of Silang parts of the Municipali%i+s o1 9asma/iBas +eneral .rias .re"e Martires City Muni"ipalities of .an>a and Nai" forming the strip of land traversed by the Puerto '>ul Road e*tending two kilometers more or less from ea"h side of the road whi"h a/+ ,+/+b- d+cla/+d as indus%/ial-/+sid+n%ialins%i%u%ional mi<# $(mphases supplied#% o .here is no ,uestion that the sub9e"t property is lo"ated within the afore8 des"ribed area# 'nd even though Resolution No# 5?; has no dire"t bearing on the "lassifi"ation of the sub9e"t property prior to the C'RL 8 it taking effe"t only in 577? after being approved by the 0LCRB 8 it is a "onfirmation that at present the sub9e"t property and its surrounding areas are deemed by the Provin"e of Cavite better suited and prioriti>ed for industrial and residential development than agri"ultural purposes# C(R. +<+mp%ion& o Se"tion 4 of R#'# 33;= provides that the C'RL shall -"over regardless of tenurial arrangement and "ommodity produ"ed all publi" and private agri"ultural lands#- 's to what "onstitutes -agri"ultural land - it is referred to as -land devoted to agri"ultural a"tivity as defined in this '"t and not classified as mineral, forest, residential, commercial or industrial land. - .he deliberations of the Constitutional Commission "onfirm this limitation# -'gri"ultural lands- ar" only those lands whi"h are -arable and suitable agri"ultural lands- and -do not include commercial, industrial and residential lands.o Based on the foregoing it is "lear that the undeveloped portions of the 'ntipolo 0ills Subdivision "annot in any language be "onsidered as -agri"ultural lands#- 4,+s+ lo%s 2+/+ in%+nd+d 1o/ /+sid+n%ial us+. 4,+c+as+d %o b+ ag/icul%u/al lands upon app/oval o1 %,+i/ inclusion in %,+ Lungsod ilangan R+s+/va%ion# (ven today the areas in ,uestion "ontinue to be developed as a low8"ost housing subdivision albeit at a snail/s pa"e * * * 4,+ +no/mi%- o1 %,+ /+sou/c+s n++d+d 1o/ d+v+loping a subdivision ma- ,av+ d+la-+d i%s compl+%ion bu% %,is do+s no% d+%/ac% 1/om %,+ 1ac% %,a% %,+s+ lands a/+ s%ill /+sid+n%ial lands and ou%sid+ %,+ ambi% o1 %,+ C(RL.

&igest by: P#M#R# +airanod