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Ramon Osmeña Property 2B (AY ’17-’18)

Ralph Deiparine

Byron Tulod

Special Report: Ayala Alabang Village San Jose gate issue

I. Background

The issue stemmed from the need in recent times to open new ingress and egress routes,
due to the increasing vehicle traffic that is passing through Commerce Ave. AAV has 3 gates
along Commerce Ave, which means the ingress and egress of residents are clearly and
greatly affected. In and around late 2015, Ayala Alabang Village Association (AAVA) passed a
resolution to occupy and construct 2 new gates: one in San Jose Gate, and the other along
Champaca St., which exits directly to Daang Hari road. However, residents along those areas
complained that the opening of the gates would compromise their privacy, security and
comfort, and complained before the HLURB. The agency sided with the complainants,
averring that the AAVA resolution was baseless, since the acts constituted acts ultra vires.
Subsequently, HLURB issued a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) on the resolution of the AAVA.
This did not deter the latter, however, to continue the construction of the gates. This
prompted the developer, Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) to file an injunction before the Muntinlupa
RTC, for the stoppage of use of the constructed gates. The RTC grants the injunction,
brushing aside AAVA’s contention that HLURB has jurisdiction over the case, with the court
holding that since the complainant is ALI (the developer) and not the subdivision owners,
the courts do indeed has jurisdiction, and not the HLURB. A year later, in 2016, in a move
that surprised both the AAV residents for and against the opening of San Jose gate, Filinvest
constructed a perimeter wall on their side, causing the proposed gateway to become a
dead-end. Such move, according to affected parties, is a clear sign that Filinvest is not
interested in any offer of the Barangay Ayala Alabang to buy the land that will form the
completed gateway into Filinvest City. Such move is also seen as the response by Filinvest of
the BAA’s pronouncement of expropriating the Filinvest side of the San Jose gate.

II. Those for the opening of the gate:


a. AAVA and supporter-residents

Based on existing news reports on the matter, AAVA and many of the residents are
supporting the opening of San Jose gate. Their main reason is that with the increasing
vehicular traffic within Commerce Ave., their ingress and egress are affected negatively.
This is due to AAV having all 3 existing gates located along Commerce Ave.

The concerns of the supporting AAV residents are real: our team experienced
numerous instances of traffic jams along Commerce avenue not only while looking for
research materials on this report, but also during the times where the individual
members were plying the route due to the normal course of our schedules (the
members of the group also use Commerce ave. as a primary route out of Alabang area
and into the adjacent cities like Las Piñas and Parañaque). The residents who support
AAVA wanted to have an alternate access route to their subdivision without having to
resort to going through the already congested Commerce Ave, and they found that
opening both the San Jose and Champaca gates would greatly help their ingress and
egress.

b. Barangay Ayala Alabang (BAA) side


The Barangay wholly supports the AAVA residents who wanted to have
alternate access to AAV. To this end, the Barangay issued BO No. 12-01 (2016), entitled
“An Ordinance Authorizing the Expropriation of a Parcel of Land in Filinvest Alabang for
a Road Right of Way”. The ordinance authorizes the Punong Barangay of the BAA to
expropriate two adjoining lots inside Filinvest City, which is outside BAA’s territorial
jurisdiction.
Upon further search of research material, our team came across a DILG legal
opinion on the matter. The opinion, dated May 11, 2017, was the DILG Undersecretary’s
answer to two queries posited by the Acting Director of the Land Management Bureau.
The LMB Acting Director, Atty. Talabis, questioned the validity of BO No. 12-01(2016),
positing the issues of whether or not BAA may exercise its power of eminent domain
over properties located outside its territorial jurisdiction and whether or not the
expropriation is of public use, considering that such is for exclusive use of AAVA
residents.
In answering the first issue, Undersecretary Panadero notes that BO No. 12-
01(2016) was forwarded to Muntinlupa City Council for review, in pursuance of Sec. 57
of RA 7160 (or the LGC). On the assumed premise that such BO passed review, the
Undersecretary notes that such BO will be presumed valid until the courts of justice
declares such BO as illegal. However, the Usec. points out that it is a fundamental rule
that the powers of an LGU only extends to its territorial jurisdiction; beyond it are acts
ultra vires. As for the second issue, the Usec., echoing a court pronouncement in a past
case, points out that expropriation involves the taking of a person’s property, and as
such, must conduct such act under the requisites of due process that is required in
eminent domain. One of the requisites of proper expropriation is that the taking of the
property is for the general benefit of the public; and as such, the agency or political
subdivision concerned has the burden of proof of showing that the taking of the
property is for the purpose of benefiting the general public.

III. Those against the opening of the gate:


a. ALI Side
In filing their injunction against AAVA, ALI claims that the roads and open spaces are still
owned by them; hence, they have the authority to prevent anybody from using them
differently from what has been depicted in the entire survey plan of Ayala Alabang
Village or AAV as a subdivision. According to ALI, if they let AAVA alter the survey plan, it
would ruin ALI’s reputation as a developer of first-class subdivisions such as AAV, adding
that the opening of additional gates would expose the village to security threats in
addition to the horrendous traffic it would entail if outside motorists would be allowed
entry and exit through these gates. ALI’s second rationale in denying AAVA the
alteration echoes the concern of AAV residents who does not support AAVA’s move to
open the gates.
b. AAV residents directly affected
Not all AAV residents favor the construction and opening of both San Jose and
Champaca Gates. Some residents, especially those who live near those proposed
openings, vehemently oppose AAVA and BAA’s overtures in opening alternate routes.
Their main reason is security: if those gates are opened, their risk of their security being
compromised by oustiders drastically increase; they worry that in opening those gates,
their homes are more open to unscrupulous individuals who may take advantage and
commit crimes like theft and robbery upon AAVA residents, who these outsiders see as
easy and rich pickings. Another reason some AAVA residents does not wish to see these
gates opened is for reasons of privacy; if not their security, their highly-precious privacy
may be compromised, which does not sit well with AAV residents. The non-supporters
also fear that pollution in their areas will increase; both environmental and noise
pollution levels will increase once the gates are opened and vehicles will get through.
Safety would also be a concern for them, since these residents would be more prone to
vehicle-related accidents, if the gates are opened.
c. Filinvest Side
As for the Filinvest Land Inc (FLI), they are refuting speculations, amidst rumors
that FLI supports the move of AAVA to construct and open San Jose Gate, which in turn
will give easier access to FLI’s land and also access to Filinvest’s Festival Mall, with the
endgame being that such moves will increase FLI’s property values. According to FLI in
2015, they need not provide entry to Filinvest City through AAV in order to increase
property values, since FLI has enjoyed rapidly increasing property values over the years,
with the value going up to Php 200,000 per sqm. In fact, according to a 2015 web article,
FLI claims that it was AAV’s land value that increased when FLI introduced
improvements over its land, which included Filinvest Interchange and Commerce Ave-
to-Skyway connection. In 2016, in a move that surprised both supporter and non-
supporter AAVA residents, FLI constructed a concrete wall on their side of the property,
which turned the proposed gateway to a dead end. According to FLI EVP Ilagan, the
move was to secure the perimeter of the entire Filinvest City, and not as, as rumors
suggest, a reaction to BAA’s pronouncement that it would expropriate parts of Filinvest
City in order to complete the access to AAV through the San Jose Gate.
IV. Our opinions and Conclusion
After having interviewed a few of the home owners of the Ayala Alabang Village, we
found out that there are pros and cons as to opening the firewall to ease the traffic. The
pros are (a) alternative access; (b) minimal congestion. While the cons are (a) security, (b)
poverty area located near the village, (c) noise pollution.
As part of the pros, it is wise to have an alternative access to Commerce Avenue without
having to use the “long cut” which is to pass by the local highway. If we are in the side of the
local government, it would be beneficial to lessen the traffic which is burdensome to the
citizens and tourists of said municipality. It is also beneficial to minimize the congestion that
happens on a daily at the local highway.
With pros, there are also cons that come with it, and the first posts a threat to the
security of the village. Imagine that any random car passes by the village and said village is
huge, the security cannot fully keep track of who comes in and out of said village. This poses
a threat to the residents of the village. Second, a study shows that in the United States, the
villages that have their gates open to the public have high criminal rates when they are close
to areas where poverty is high. Lastly, opening of village gates for easier access will create
noise pollution to the residents of the said subdivision.
That is why our group will stand firm that it will be detrimental for Ayala Alabang Village
in the long run if they will grant an easement and let public cars pass through the said
village.

References:

https://www.scribd.com/document/8414515/Gated-Communities-and-Property-Values

http://www.philstar.com/business/2015/11/25/1525530/ayala-land-stops-use-aav-gates

http://business.inquirer.net/218492/biz-buzz-right-of-way-shakedown

http://www.dilg.gov.ph/legal-opinions/Request-for-a-legal-opinion-on-the-validity-of-Ordinance-No-12-
01-Series-of-2016-of-Barangay-Ayala-Alabang-Muntinlupa-City/776

http://business.inquirer.net/203704/biz-buzz-neighborly-advice