Sunday, October 16, 2011

Heirs of Dr. Jose Deleste v. Land Bank of the Philippines, et al., G.R. No. 169913. June 8, 2011.

Local government; power to classify lands.  (J. Abad)

Petitioners in this case contend that the subject property is outside the coverage of the agrarian reform program in view of the enactment of City Ordinance No. 1313 by the City of Iligan reclassifying the area into a residential/commercial land. Unconvinced, the DARAB, in its Decision, noted that the record is bereft of any evidence that the city ordinance has been approved by the HLURB, thereby allegedly casting doubt on the validity of the reclassification over the subject property. The Supreme Court agreed with petitioners that the property is outside the coverage of the agrarian reform program. Ordinance No. 1313 was enacted in 1975. Significantly, there was still no HLURB to speak of during that time. It was the Task Force on Human Settlements, the earliest predecessor of HLURB, which was in existence at that time. The Task Force was not empowered to review and approve zoning ordinances and regulations. As a matter of fact, it was only on August 9, 1978, with the issuance of Letter of Instructions No. 729, that local governments were required to submit their existing land use plans, zoning ordinances, enforcement systems and procedures to the Ministry of Human Settlements for review and ratification.

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