Valcurza vs. Atty. Tamparong GR 189874, Sep. 4, 2013

Fact: Respondent is the registered owner of a land allegedly passed a Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance classifying respondent’s land from agricultural to industrial. A Notice of Coverage was issued by the DAR on respondent’s land who eventually issued CLOA in favor of the petitioners. Respondent filed a protest against the CARP coverage on the ground that his land was industrial, being found within the industrial estate of PHIVIDEC as per Zoning Ordinance. Which was subsequently denied because Zoning Ordinance No. 123, Series of 1997, never unequivocally stated that all the landholdings within the PHIVIDEC area had been classified as industrial. Aggrieved, respondent filed a Complaint for Annulment of Certificate of Land Ownership Award with Prayer for the Issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order with PARAB which declared that Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance No. 51-98, Series of 1982 had reclassified Lot No. 2252 from agricultural to industrial land prior to the effectivity of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law. On appeal, the DARAB held that the identification of lands that are subject to CARP and the declaration of exemption therefrom are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the DAR Secretary. As the grounds relied upon by petitioners in their complaint partook of a protest against the coverage of the subject landholding from CARP and/or exemption therefrom, the DARAB concluded that the DAR Secretary had exclusive jurisdiction over the matter. Hence, the DARAB reversed the PARAB, maintained the validity of the CLOA, and dismissed the complaint for lack of merit. Dissatisfied, respondent filed a Petition for Review under Rule 43 with the CA, which ruled that the annulment of duly registered CLOAs with the Land Registration Authority falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the DARAB and not of the regional director. Furthermore, the subject landholding was considered industrial because of a zoning classification issued by the Municipal Council of Villanueva, Misamis Oriental, prior to 15 June 1988. This ruling is consistent with the power of local governments to reclassify lands through a local ordinance, which is not subject to DAR’s approval.Adrian Avilado Antazo

Issue: whether the PARAB declaration of Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance to reclassify land from agricultural to industrial prior to the effectivity of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law is enough to exempt the said land in the CARL coverage.Adrian Avilado Antazo

Held: No, that a zoning ordinance, in order to validly reclassify land, must have been approved by the HLURB prior to 15 June 1988 based on the of Letter of Instructions No. 729, dated 9 August 1978. According to this issuance, local governments are required to submit their existing land use plans, zoning ordinances, enforcement systems and procedures to the Ministry of Human Settlements — one of the precursor agencies of the HLURB — for review and ratification. Here, the records of the case show the absence of HLURB Certifications approving Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance Resolution No. 51-98, Series of 1982, and Zoning Ordinance No. 123, Series of 1997. Hence, it cannot be said that the land is industrial and outside the ambit of CARP.Adrian Avilado Antazo

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