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Land Reclassification 1. Fortich vs Corona 398 SCRA 685 The Office of the President modified its decision which had already become final and executory. FACTS: On November 7, 1997, the Office of the President (OP) issued a “win-win” Resolution which reopened case O.P. Case No. 96-C-6424. The said Resolution substantially modified its March 29, 1996 Decision. The OP had long declared the said Decision final & executory after the DAR’s Motion for Reconsideration was denied for having been filed beyond the 15-day reglementary period. The SC then struck down as void the OP’s act, it being in gross disregard of the rules & basic legal precept that accord finality to administrative determinations. The respondents contended in their instant motion that the “win-win” Resolution of November 7, 1997 is not void since “it seeks to correct an erroneous ruling,” hence, the “March 29, 1996 decision…could not as yet become final and executory as to be beyond modification”. They further explained that the DAR’s failure to file their Motion for Reconsideration on time was “excusable”. ISSUE: Was the OP’s modification of the Decision void or a valid exercise of its powers and prerogatives? 1. Whether the DAR’s late filing of the Motion for Reconsideration is excusable. 2. Whether the respondent’s have shown a justifiable reason for the relaxation of rules. 3. Whether the issue is a question of technicality. HELD: 1. No. Sec.7 of Administrative Order No. 18, dated February 12, 1987, mandates that ‘decisions/resolutions/orders of the Office of the President shall…become final after the lapse of 15 days from receipt of a copy therof xxx’ unless a Motion for Reconsideration thereof is filed within such period. The respondent’s explanation that the DAR’s office procedure ‘made it impossible…to file its Motion for Reconsideration on time’ since the said decision had to be referred to its different departments cannot be considered a valid justification. While there is nothing wrong with such referral, the DAR must not disregard the reglementary period fixed by law, rule or regulation. The rules relating to reglementary period should not be made subservient to the internal office procedure of an administrative body. 2. No. The final & executory character of the OP Decision can no longer be disturbed or substantially modified. Res judicata has set in and the adjudicated affair should forever be put to rest. Procedural rules should be treated with utmost respect and due regard since they are designed to facilitate the adjudication of cases to remedy the worsening problem of delay in the resolution of rival claims and in the administration of justice. The Constitution guarantees that “all persons shall have a right to the speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasi-judicial and administrative bodies.“ While a litigation is not a game of technicalities, every case must be prosecuted in accordance with the prescribed procedure to ensure an orderly & speedy administration of justice. The flexibility in the relaxation of rules was ‘never intended to forge a bastion for erring litigants to violate the rules with impunity.’ A liberal interpretation & application of the rules of procedure can only be resorted to in proper cases and under justifiable causes and circumstances. 3. No. It is a question of substance & merit. A decision/resolution/order of an administrative body, court or tribunal which is declared void on the ground that the same was rendered Without or in Excess of Jurisdiction, or with Grave Abuse of Discretion, is a mere technicality of law or procedure. Jurisdiction is an essential and mandatory requirement before a case or controversy can be acted on. Moreover, an act is still invalid if done in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion. In the instant case, several fatal violations of law were committed. These grave breaches of law, rules & settled jurisprudence are clearly substantial, not of technical nature. When the March 29, 1996 OP Decision was declared final and executory, vested rights were acquired by the petitioners, and all others who should be benefited by the said Decision. In the words of the learned Justice Artemio V. Panganiban in Videogram Regulatory Board vs CA, et al., “just as a losing party has the right to file an appeal within the prescribed period, the winning party also has the correlative right to enjoy the finality of the resolution of his/her case.” 2. Roxas and Co., Inc. v. IAC Puno, J. Facts: Petitioner Roxas and Co. Is a corporation that owns 3 haciendas in Batangas, which the government wishes to acquire under the Comprehensive Agrarian Law (CARL). Before the effectivity of the law, the petitioner filed with the Department of Agrarian Reform a voluntary offer to sell (VOS) Hacienda Caylaway pursuant to EO 229, which served as guidelines to the comprehensive agrarian program. The two other haciendas—Banilad and Palico—were placed under compulsory acquisition by the DAR in accordance with the CARL. Hacienda Banilad and Palico DAR sent invitations to Roxas and Co in order to discuss the results of the DAR investigation, finding both Banilad and Palico qualified under the CARP. For Hacienda Palico, DAR sent a letter of acquisition to Roxas and Co at their offices in Manila, while for Hacienda Banilad, DAR addressed the notices to Jaime Pimintel, caretaker of the said hacienda. It was petitioner Pimintel who attended all the proceedings regarding the two haciendas. Hence, during trial, Roxas and Co claimed that they were not informed of the acquisition proceedings on their two haciendas. DAR then opened a trust account in favor of petitioner Roxas and Co. These trust accounts were replaced by DAR with cash and Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) bonds. Meanwhile, petitioner Roxas applied for the conversion of the haciendas from agricultural to non-agricultural. Despite this, DAR proceeded with the acquisition of the two haciendas. It then issued and distributed certificate of land ownership awards (CLOA) to farmer beneficiaries. Hacianda Caylaway Although Hacienda Caylaway was initially offered for sale to the government, Roxas and Co sent a letter to DAR secretary withdrawing its offer. According to Roxas, the reclassification of Caylaway from agricultural to non agricultural was authorized by the Sangguniang Bayan of Nasugbu. Also, the municipality of Nasugbu where the haciendas are located had been declared a tourist zone. Roxas also argued that the land is not suitable for agricultural purposes. DAR secretary denied Roxas withdrawal of his VOS. According to the secretary, the withdrawal can only be based on specific grounds such as unsuitability of soil for agriculture, slope of the lad is over 180 degrees and that the land is undeveloped. Despite the denial of the withdrawal of the VOS, petitioner still filed an application for conversion with the DAR Adjudication Board (DARAB), which submitted the case to the Secretary of DAR for resolution. The DAR secretary dismissed the case. Roxas and Co went to the CA on appeal. CA dismissed appeal claiming that petitioners failed to exhaust administrative remedies. Issues: 1. WON the court can take cognizance of petitioner’s petition despite failure to exhaust administrative remedies 2. WON acquisition proceedings against the petitioners were valid 3. WON the court can rule on whether the haciendas may be reclassified from agricultural to non agricultural Held: 1. Yes. Petitioner’s action falls under the exception to the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies sine there is no other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy for the petitioners at this point. The CLOAs were already issued despite the fact that there was no just compensation. 2. Acquisition proceedings against petitioners violated their right to due process. First, there was an improper service of the Notice of Acquisition. Notices to corporations should be served through their president, manager, secretary, cashier, agent, or any of its directors or partners. Jaime Pimintel, to whom the notice was served, was neither of those. Second, there was no notice of coverage, meaning, the parcels of land were not properly identified before they were taken by the DAR. Under the law, the land owner has the right to choose 5 hectares of land he wishes to retain. Upon receiving the Notice of Acquisition, petitioner corporation had no idea which portions of its estate were subject to compulsory acquisiton. Third, The CLOAs were issued to farmer beneficiaries without just compensation. The law provides that the deposit must be made only in cash or LBP bonds. DAR’s opening of a trust account in petitioner’s name does not constitute payment. Even if later, DAR substituted the trust account with cash and LBP bonds, such does not cure the lack of notice, which still amounts to a violation of the petitioner’s right to due process. 3. Despite all this, the court has not jurisdiction to rule on the reclassification of land from agricultural to non agricultural. DAR’s failure to observe due process does not give the court the power to adjudicate over petitioner’s application for land conversion. DAR is charged with the mandate of approving applications for land conversion. They have the tools and experience needed to evaluate such applications; hence, they are the proper agency with which applications for land use conversion are lodged. DAR should be given a chance to correct their defects with regard to petitioner’s right to due process. Petitioner dismissed. Note: Pertinent section although not mentioned in the case is Sec. 20 of the LGC on power of LGU to reclassify land. However, the code also provides that the CARL prevails over LGC provisions. Zoning Ordinance 1. Alfredo Patalinghug vs. Court of Appeals Facts: On November 17, 1982, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Davao City enacted Ordinance No. 363, otherwise known as the “Expanded Zoning Ordinance of Davao City,” Sec.8 of which states: “A C-2 District shall be dominantly for commercial and compatible industrial uses as provided hereunder: xxx 3.1. Funeral Parlors/Memorial Homes with adequate off street parking space and provided that they shall be established not less than 50 meters from any residential structures, churches and other institutional buildings.” Petitioner constructed a funeral parlor in the name and style of Metropolitan Funeral Parlor at Cabaguio Avenue, Agdao, Davao City. Acting on the complaint of several residents of Brgy. Agdao that the construction of petitioner’s funeral parlor violated Ordinance No. 363 since it was allegedly situated within a 50-meter radius from the Iglesia ni Kristo chapel and several residential structures, the Sangguniang Panlungsod conducted an investigation and found that “the nearest residential structure, owned by Wilfred Tepoot, is only 8 inches to the south”. Notwithstanding the findings of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, petitioner continued with the construction of his funeral parlor until it was finished on November 3, 1987. Issues: Whether petitioner’s operation of a funeral home constitutes permissible use within a particular district or zone in Davao City? Held: Petitioner did not violate Sec.8 of Davao City Ordinance No. 363. The question of whether Mr. Tepoot’s building is residential or not is a factual determination which we should not disturb. Although the general rule is that findings of the lower courts are conclusive upon the Supreme Court, this admits of exceptions as when the findings and conclusions of the Court of Appeals and of the trial court are contrary to each other. While the trial court ruled that Tepoot’s building was commercial, the Appellate Court ruled otherwise. Tax declaration is not conclusive of the nature of the property for zoning purposes. A property may well be declared by its owner as residential for real estate taxation purposes but it may well be within a commercial zone. A discrepancy may thus exist in the determination of the nature of property for real estate taxation purposes vis-à-vis the determination of a property for zoning purposes. A tax declaration only enables the assessor to identify the evidentiary value of a tax for assessment levels. In fact, a tax declaration does not bind a provincial/city assessor, for under Sec. 22 of the Real Estate Tax Code, appraisal and assessment are based on the actual use irrespective of “any previous assessment or taxpayer’s valuation thereon”. A piece of land declared by a taxpayer as residential may be assessed by the provincial/city assessor as commercial because its actual use is commercial. Even if Tepoot’s building was declared for taxation purposes as residential, once a local government has reclassified an area as commercial, that determination for zoning purposes must prevail. While the commercial character of the questioned vicinity has been declared through ordinance, private respondents have failed to present convincing arguments to substantiate their claim that Cabaguio Avenue, where the funeral parlor was constructed, was still a residential zone. Unquestionably, the operation of a funeral parlor constitutes as “commercial purposes” as gleaned from Ordinance No. 363. The declaration of said area as a commercial zone through a municipal ordinance is an exercise of police power to promote the good order and general welfare of the people in the locality. Corollary thereto, the State may interfere with personal liberty, with property, and with business and occupations in order to promote the general welfare. Thus, persons may be subjected to certain kinds of restraints and burdens in order to secure the general welfare of the state and to this fundamental aim of the government, the rights of the individual may be subordinated. The ordinance which regulates the location of funeral homes has been adopted as part of comprehensive zoning plans for the orderly development of the area covered thereunder. Notes. The appraisal and assessment of real property for taxation purposes is that the property must be appraised at its current and fair market value (Reyes vs. Almanzor, 196 SCRA 322). The exercise by local government of the power to tax is ordained by the present constitution, only guidelines and limitations that may be established by Congress can define and limit such power of local governments (Philippine Petroleum Corporation vs. Municipality of Pililia, Rizal, 198 SCRA 82). 2.    o      Ortigas vs. FEATI (1979) Facts: Ortigas & Co., Limited Partnership engaged in real estate business developing and selling lots to the public particularly Highway Hills subdivision along EDSA March 4, 1952 – Augusto Padilla y Angeles and Natividad Angeles entered into separate agreements of sale on installments over Lots 5 and 6 Block 31, Highway Hills July 19, 1962 – Augusto and Natividad transferred their rights and interests in favor of Emma Chavez Transfer contained the following restrictions and stipulations: For residential purposes only All buildings and improvements (except fences) should use strong building material, have modern sanitary installations connected to the public sewer or own septic tank and shall not be more than 2 meters from the boundary lines Resolution 27 – Feb 4, 1960 – reclassified the western part of EDSA (Shaw boulevard to Pasig River) as a commercial and industrial zone Such restrictions were annotated on the TCTs July 23, 1962 - Feati bank bought Lot 5 from Emma Chavez while lot 6 was purchased by Republic Flour Mills     May 5, 1963 – Feati Bank began laying foundation and construction of a building for banking purposes on lots 5 and 6 Ortigas & Co. Demanded that they comply with the annotated restrictions Feati Bank refused arguing that it was following the zoning regulations Ortigas & Co. filed a case in the lower courts which held that Resolution No. 27 was a valid exercise of police power of the municipality hence the zoning is binding and takes precedence over the annotations in the TCTs because “private interest should bow down to general interest and welfare.”  March 2, 1965 – motion for reconsideration by Ortigas & Co. which was denied on March 26, 1965  April 2, 1965 Ortigas filed notice of appeal which was given due course on April 14, 1965 hence this case. Issues: WON Resolution No. 27 is a valid exercise of police power WON Resolution No. 27 can nullify or supersede contractual obligations by Feati Bank and Trust Co. Held: YES it is a valid exercise police power. YES it can nullify contractual obligations by Feati with Ortigas & Co. Ratio: The validity of the resolution was never assailed in the lower courts and can therefore not be raised for the first time on appeal o The rule against flip flopping issues and arguments prevents deception in courts o Ortigas & Co. also did not dispute the factual findings of the lower court on the validity of the resolution  Assuming arguendo it was properly raised the resolution is still valid o RA 2264 (Local Autonomy Act) Sec 3 empowers municipalities to adopt zoning and subdivision ordinances or regulations for the municipality o The resolution is regulatory measure! o RA 2264 Sec 12  any fair and reasonable doubt as to the existence of the power should be interpreted in favor of the local government and it shall be presumed to exist  this gives more power to LGUs to promote general welfare, economic conditions, social welfare and material progress in their locality  The non-impairment clause of contracts is not absolute since it must be reconciled with the legitimate exercise of police power o when general welfare and private property rights clash, the former must prevail through police powers of the state  Lots 5 and 6 front EDSA and has become surrounded by industrial and commercial complexes o Development in the area has resulted in extreme noise and air pollution that is not conducive to health, safety and welfare of the would-be residents  justifies the usage by Feati Bank of the land for more reasonable purposes  Decision: Affirmed Dissenting: Abad Santos, J. Resolution 27 is valid because it has not yet been struck down but it is not a legitimate exercise of police power because its means (zoning) do not fit with its purpose of general welfare  Zoning the area as industrial and commercial will contribute to chaos, frenzy, pollution, noise which suffocate and cause the deterioration of the ecology  Lowers quality of life for residents in Metro Manila  Closure and Opening of Roads 1. BRUNO S. CABRERA, vs.CA CRUZ, J.:p On September 19, 1969, the Provincial Board of Catanduanes adopted Resolution No. 158, providing as follows: RESOLVED, as it is hereby resolved, to close the old road leading to the new Capitol Building of this province to traffic effective October 31, 1969, and to give to the owners of the properties traversed by the new road equal area as per survey by the Highway District Engineer's office from the old road adjacent to the respective remaining portion of their properties. RESOLVED FURTHER, that the Honorable Provincial Governor be, as he is hereby authorized to sign for and in behalf of the province of Catanduanes, the pertinent Deed of Exchange and or other documents pertaining thereto; Pursuant thereto, Deeds of Exchange were executed under which the Province of Catanduanes conveyed to Remedios R. Bagadiong, Fredeswindo F. Alcala, Elena S. Latorre, Baldomero Tolentino, Eulogia T. Alejandro, Angeles S. Vargas, and Juan S. Reyes portions of the closed road in exchange for their own respective properties, on which was subsequently laid a new concrete road leading to the Capitol Building. In 1978, part of the northern end of the old road fronting the petitioner's house was planted to vegetables in 1977 by Eulogia Alejandro. Anselmo Peña, who had bought Angeles Vargas's share, also in the same part of the road, converted it into a piggery farm. Learning about Resolution 158, the petitioner filed on December 29, 1978, a complaint with the Court of First Instance of Catanduanes for "Restoration of Public Road and/or Abatement of Nuisance, Annulment of Resolutions and Documents with Damages." He alleged that the land fronting his house was a public road owned by the Province of Catanduanes in its governmental capacity and therefore beyond the commerce of man. He contended that Resolution No. 158 and the deeds of exchange were invalid, as so too was the closure of the northern portion of the said road. In a decision dated November 21, 1980, Judge Graciano P. Gayapa, Jr., while holding that the land in question was not a declared public road but a mere "passageway" or "short-cut," nevertheless sustained the authority of the provincial board to enact Resolution No. 158 under existing law. 1 Appeal was taken to the respondent court, 2which found that the road was a public road and not a trail but just the same also upheld Resolution 158. It declared: Pursuant to Republic Act No. 5185, municipal authorities can close, subject to the approval or direction of the Provincial Board, thoroughfares under Section 2246 of the Revised Administrative Code. Although in this case the road was not closed by the municipality of Catanduanes but by the provincial board of Catanduanes, the closure, nevertheless, is valid since it was ordered by the approving authority itself. However, while it could do so, the provincial government of Catanduanes could close the road only if the persons prejudiced thereby were indemnified, Section 2246 of the Revised Administrative Code being very explicit on this. Before us now, the petitioner insists that Sec. 2246 is not applicable because Resolution No. 158 is not an order for the closure of the road in question but an authority to barter or exchange it with private properties. He maintains that the public road was owned by the province in its governmental capacity and, without a prior order of closure, could not be the subject of a barter. Control over public roads, he insists, is with Congress and not with the provincial board. The petitioner alleges that the closure of the road has especially injured him and his family as they can no longer use it in going to the national road leading to the old capitol building but must instead pass through a small passageway. For such inconvenience, he is entitled to damages in accordance with law. The petition has no merit. The Court cannot understand how the petitioner can seriously argue that there is no order of closure when it is there in the resolution, in black and white. Resolution 158 clearly says that it is "hereby resolved to close the old road." The closure is as plain as day except that the petitioner, with the blindness of those who will not see, refuses to acknowledge it. The Court has little patience with such puerile arguments. They border dangerously on a trifling with the administration of justice and can only prejudice the pleader's cause. The authority of the provincial board to close that road and use or convey it for other purposes is derived from the following provisions of Republic Act No. 5185 in relation to Section 2246 of the Revised Administrative Code: R.A. No. 5185, Section 11 (II) (a): II. The following actions by municipal officials or municipal councils, as provided for in the pertinent sections of the Revised Administrative Code shall take effect without the need of approval or direction from any official of the national government: Provided, That such actions shall be subject to approval or direction by the Provincial Board: (a) Authority to close thoroughfare under Section 2246; xxx xxx xxx Sec. 2246. Authority to close thoroughfare. — With the prior authorization of the Department Head, a municipal council may close any municipal road, street, alley, park, or square; but no such way or place aforesaid or any part thereof, shall be closed without indemnifying any person prejudiced thereby. Property thus withdrawn from public servitude may be used or conveyed for any purpose for which other real property belonging to the municipality might be lawfully used or conveyed. In the case of Cebu Oxygen and Acetylene Co., Inc. v. Bercilles, 3 the Court held the closure of a city street as within the powers of the city council under the Revised Charter of Cebu City, which provided: Sec. 31. Legislative Powers.— Any provision of law and executive order to the contrary notwithstanding, the City Council shall have the following legislative powers: xxx xxx xxx (34) . . .; to close any city road, street or alley, boulevard, avenue, park or square. Property thus withdrawn from public servitude may be used or conveyed for any purpose for which other real property belonging to the City may be lawfully used or conveyed; It sustained the subsequent sale of the land as being in accordance not only with the charter but also with Article 422 of the Civil Code, which provides: "Property of public dominion, when no longer intended for public use or for public service, shall form part of the patrimonial property of the State." In the case of Favis vs. City of Baguio, 4 the power of the City Council of Baguio City to close city streets and withdraw them from public use was also assailed. This Court said: 5. So it is, that appellant may not challenge the city council's act of withdrawing a strip of Lapu-Lapu Street at its dead end from public use and converting the remainder thereof into an alley. These are acts well within the ambit of the power to close a city street. The city council, it would seem to us, is the authority competent to determine whether or not a certain property is still necessary for public use. Such power to vacate a street or alley is discretionary. And the discretion will not ordinarily be controlled or interfered with by the courts, absent a plain case of abuse or fraud or collusion. Faithfulness to the public trust will be presumed. So the fact that some private interests may be served incidentally will not invalidate the vacation ordinance. While it is true that the above cases dealt with city councils and not the provincial board, there is no reason for not applying the doctrine announced therein to the provincial board in connection with the closure of provincial roads. The provincial board has, after all, the duty of maintaining such roads for the comfort and convenience of the inhabitants of the province. Moreover, this authority is inferable from the grant by the national legislature of the funds to the Province of Catanduanes for the construction of provincial roads. On this matter, Governor Vicente Alberto of Catanduanes testified as follows: . . . when the Province was given funds to construct a road that will be more convenient to the public, more solid and wider and to have a better town planning whereby the Capitol would be reached directly from the pier for purposes of improving services to the public, it was recommended by the District Highway Engineer that a new road would be constructed connecting the Capitol with the veterans fountain, and believing this recommendation was for the good of the community, it was carried out. The original passageway was already unnecessary and since there was a problem of compensation the land owners where the new road was going to pass, so they decided to close this passageway and instead of paying the owners of the property where the new road was to be constructed, they exchanged some portions of this passageway with properties where the proposed road would pass. 5 The lower court found the petitioner's allegation of injury and prejudice to be without basis because he had "easy access anyway to the national road, for in fact the vehicles used by the Court and the parties during the ocular inspection easily passed and used it, reaching beyond plaintiff's house." However, the Court of Appeals ruled that the he "was prejudiced by the closure of the road which formerly fronted his house. He and his family were undoubtedly inconvenienced by the loss of access to their place of residence for which we believe they should be compensated." On this issue, the governing principle was laid down in Favis thus: . . . The general rule is that one whose property does not abut on the closed section of a street has no right to compensation for the closing or vacation of the street, if he still has reasonable access to the general system of streets. The circumstances in some cases may be such as to give a right to damages to a property owner, even though his property does not abut on the closed section. But to warrant recovery in any such case the property owner must show that the situation is such that he has sustained special damages differing in kind, and not merely in degree, from those sustained by the public generally. This rule was based on the following observations made in Richmond v. City of Hinton 6 which were quoted with approval by this Court: The Constitution does not undertake to guarantee to a property owner the public maintenance of the most convenient route to his door. The law will not permit him to be cut off from the public thoroughfares, but he must content himself with such route for outlet as the regularly constituted public authority may deem most compatible with the public welfare. When he acquires city property, he does so in tacit recognition of these principles. If, subsequent to his acquisition, the city authorities abandon a portion of the street to which his property is not immediately adjacent, he may suffer loss because of the inconvenience imposed, but the public treasury cannot be required to recompense him. Such case is damnum absque injuria. Following the above doctrine, we hold that the petitioner is not entitled to damages because the injury he has incurred, such as it is, is the price he and others like him must pay for the welfare of the entire community. This is not a case where his property has been expropriated and he is entitled to just compensation. The construction of the new road was undertaken under the general welfare clause. As the trial judge acutely observed, whatever inconvenience the petitioner has suffered "pales in significance compared to the greater convenience the new road, which is wide and concrete, straight to the veterans fountain and down to the pier, has been giving to the public, plus the fact that the new road adds beauty and color not only to the town of Virac but also to the whole province of Catanduanes." For the enjoyment of those benefits, every individual in the province, including the petitioner, must be prepared to give his share. The dispositive portion of the challenged decision awarded the petitioner the sum of P5,000.00 as nominal and/or temperate damages, and the sum of P2,000.00 as and for attorney's fees. For the reasons stated above, these awards should all be deleted. The petitioner must content himself with the altruistic feeling that for the prejudice he has suffered, the price he can expect is the improvement of the comfort and convenience of the inhabitants of Catanduanes, of whom he is one. That is not a paltry recompense. WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals dated February 17, 1987, is AFFIRMED as above modified, with costs against the petitioner. SO ORDERED. Narvasa, Gancayco, Griño-Aquino and Medialdea, JJ., concur. 2 MMDA v Bel-Air Village Association, Inc. GR 135962 March 27, 2000 FACTS: On December 30, 1995, respondent received from petitioner a notice requesting the former to open its private road, Neptune Street, to public vehicular traffic starting January 2, 1996. On the same day, respondent was apprised that the perimeter separating the subdivision from Kalayaan Avenue would be demolished. Respondent instituted a petition for injunction against petitioner, praying for the issuance of a TRO and preliminary injunction enjoining the opening of Neptune Street and prohibiting the demolition of the perimeter wall. ISSUE: WON MMDA has the authority to open Neptune Street to public traffic as an agent of the state endowed with police power. HELD: A ‘local government’ is a “political subdivision of a nation or state which is constituted by law and has substantial control of local affairs”. It is a “body politic and corporate” – one endowed with powers as a political subdivision of the National Government and as a corporate entity representing the inhabitants of its territory (LGC of 1991). Our Congress delegated police power to the LGUs in Sec.16 of the LGC of 1991. It empowers the sangguniang panlalawigan, panlungsod and bayan to “enact ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate funds for the general welfare of the [province, city or municipality] and its inhabitants pursuant to Sec.16 of the Code and in the proper exercise of the [LGU's corporate powers] provided under the Code.” There is no syllable in RA 7924 that grants the MMDA police power, let alone legislative power. Unlike the legislative bodies of the LGUs, there is no grant of authority in RA 7924 that allows the MMDA to enact ordinances and regulations for the general welfare of the inhabitants of Metro Manila. The MMDA is merely a “development authority” and not a political unit of government since it is neither an LGU or a public corporation endowed with legislative power. The MMDA Chairman is not an elective official, but is merely appointed by the President with the rank and privileges of a cabinet member. In sum, the MMDA has no power to enact ordinances for the welfare of the community. It is the LGUs, acting through their respective legislative councils, that possess legislative power and police power. The Sangguniang Panlungsod of Makati City did not pass any ordinance or resolution ordering the opening of Neptune Street, hence, its proposed opening by the MMDA is illegal. 3. Sangalang v. IAC (G.R. No. 71169. December 22, 1988) FACTS: The Mayor of Makati directed Bel-Air Village Association (BAVA) to opening of several streets to the general public, after a series of developments in zoning regulations. All but Jupiter St. was voluntarily opened. The strong opposition later gave way when the municipal officials force-opened the gates of said street for public use. The area ceased to be purely residential. Action for damages was brought against Ayala Corporation and BAVA for alleged breach of contract, to maintain the purely residential status of the area. Other similarly situated also filed their respective cases. All were dismissed in the trial court. The Court of Appeals affirmed the said dismissals. ISSUE: Whether or not there is a contract between homeowners and Ayala Corporation violated in opening the Jupiter street for public use. HELD: No. There was no contract to speak of in the case, hence nothing was violated. RATIO: Petitioners cannot successfully rely on the alleged promise by Ayala Corporation, to build a “[f]ence along Jupiter [street] with gate for entrance and/or exit as evidence of Ayala’s alleged continuing obligation to maintain a wall between the residential and commercial sections. Assuming there was a contract violated, it was still overtaken by the passage of zoning ordinances which represent a legitimate exercise of police power. The petitioners have not shown why Courts should hold otherwise other than for the supposed “non-impairment” guaranty of the Constitution, which is secondary to the more compelling interests of general welfare. The Ordinance has not been shown to be capricious or arbitrary or unreasonable to warrant the reversal of the judgments so appealed. 4. Macasiano vs Diokno GR 97764 (August 10, 1992) G.R. No. 97764 August 10, 1992 Facts: Respondent Municipality passed Ordinance No. 86 which authorized the closure of J.Gabriel, G.G. Cruz, Bayanihan, Lt. Garcia Extension and Opena Streets and the establishment of a flea market thereon. This was passed pursuant to MMC Ordinance No.2 and was approved by the Metropolitan Manila Authority on July 20, 1990. On August 8, 1990, respondent municipality and Palanyag entered into a contract agreement whereby the latter shall operate, maintain & manage the flea markets and/or vending areas in the aforementioned streets with the obligation to remit dues to the treasury of the municipal government of Parañaque. On September 13, 1990 Brig. Gen. Macasiano ordered the destruction and confiscation of stalls along G.G. Cruz & Gabriel Street in Baclaran. He also wrote a letter to Palanyag ordering the destruction of the flea market. Hence, respondent filed a joint petition praying for preliminary injunction. The trial court upheld the assailed Ordinance and enjoined petitioner from enforcing his letter-order against Palanyag. Issues: WON an ordinance/resolution issued by the municipal council of Parañaque authorizing the lease & use of public streets/thoroughfares as sites for the flea market is valid. Held: No. J. Gabriel, G.G. Cruz, Bayanihan, Lt. Garcia Extension and Opena Streets are local roads used for public service and are therefore considered public properties of respondent municipality. Properties of the local government devoted to public service are deemed public and are under the absolute control of Congress. Hence, local governments have no authority to control/regulate the use of public properties unless specific authority is vested upon them by Congress. Sec. 10, Chapter II of the LGC should be read and interpreted in accordance with basic principles already established by law. The closure should be for the sole purpose of withdrawing the road or other public property from public use when circumstances show that such property is no longer intended/necessary for public use/service. Once withdrawn, the property then becomes patrimonial property of the LGU concerned and only then can said LGU use the property as an object of an ordinary contract. Roads and streets available to the public and ordinarily used for vehicular traffic are still considered public property devoted to public use. The LGU has no power to use it for another purpose or to dispose of or lease it to private persons. Also, the disputed ordinance cannot be validly implemented because it can’t be considered approved by the Metropolitan Manila Authority due to non-compliance with the conditions it imposed for the approval of said ordinance. The powers of an LGU are not absolute, but subject to the limitations laid down by the Constitution and laws such as the Civil Code. Every LGU has the sworn obligation to enact measures that will enhance the public health, safety & convenience, maintain peace & order and promiote the general prosperity of the inhanbitants pf the local units. As in the Dacanay case, the general public have the right to demand the demolition of the illegally constructed stalls in public roads & streets. The officials of the respondent municipality have the corresponding duty arising from public office to clear the city streets and restore them to their specific public purpose. The ordinance is void and illegal for lack of basis in authority in laws applicable during its time.