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Case Digest

In: Other Topics

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G.R. No. 126102, December 4, 2000


FACTS: * This petition seeks to reverse the decision of Court of Appeals, dated March 25, 1996, in CA – G.R. SP No. 39193, which nullified the write of the write of preliminary injunction issued by the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Bramch 261, in Civil Case No. 64931. * On August 25, 1976, petitioner Ortigas & Company sold to Emilia Hermoso, a parcel of land known as Lot 1, Block 21, Psd-66759, with an area of 1,508 square meters, located in Greenhills Subdivision IV, San Juan, Metro Manila, and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 0737. The contract of sale provided that the lot: a. Be used exclusively for residential purposes only, and not more than one single-family residential building will be constructed thereon. b. The BUYER shall not erect any sign or billboard on the roof for advertising purposes. c. No single-family residential building shall be erected until the building plans, specification have been approved by the seller. d. Restrictions shall run with the land and shall be construed as real covenants until December 31, 2025 when they shall cease and terminate

These and the other conditions were duly annotated on the certificate of title issued to Emilia. * In 1981, the Metropolitan Manila Commission (now Metropolitan Manila Development Authority) enacted MMC Ordinance No. 81-01, also known as the Comprehensive Zoning Area for the National Capital Region. The ordinance reclassified as a commercial area a portion of Ortigas Avenue from Madison to Roosevelt Streets of Greenhills Subdivision where the lot is located. * On June 8, 1984, private respondent Ismael Mathay III leased the lot from Emilia Hermoso and J.P. Hermoso Realty Corp. The lease contract did not specify the purposes of the lease. Thereupon, private respondent constructed a single story commercial building for Greenhills Autohaus, Inc., a car sales company. * On June 16, 1995, the trial court issued the writ of preliminary injunction. On June 29, 1995, Mathay III moved to set aside the injunctive order, but the trial court denied the motion. * Mathay III then filed with the Court of Appeals a special civil action for certiorari, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 39193, ascribing to the trial court grave abuse of discretion in issuing the writ of preliminary injunction. He claimed that MMC Ordinance No. 81-01 classified the area where the lot was located as commercial area and said ordinance must be read into the August 25, 1976 Deed of Sale as a concrete exercise of police power. * Ortigas and Company averred that inasmuch as the restrictions on the use of the lot were duly annotated on the title it issued to Emilia Hermoso, said restrictions must prevail over the ordinance, specially since these restrictions were agreed upon before the passage of MMC Ordinance No. 81-01.
W/N the CA properly exercised police power
Yes, the Court held that, in issuing the disputed writ of preliminary injunction, the trial court observed that the contract of sale was entered into in August 1976, while the zoning ordinance was enacted only in March 1981. The trial court reasoned that since private respondent had failed to show that MMC Ordinance No. 81-01 had retroactive effect, said ordinance should be given prospective application only citing Co vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 162 SCRA 390 (1988).
Laws are to be construed as having only prospective operation. Lex prospicit, non respicit. Equally settled, only laws existing at the time of the execution of a contract are applicable thereto and not later statutes, unless the latter are specifically intended to have retroactive effect. But, the foregoing principles do admit of certain exceptions. One involves police power. A law enacted in the exercise of police power to regulate or govern certain activities or transactions could be given retroactive effect and may reasonably impair vested rights or contracts. Police power legislation is applicable not only to future contracts, but equally to those already in existence. Noteworthy, in Sangalang vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, the court held that, MMC Ordinance No. 81-01 as a legitimate police power measure.
The trial court’s reliance on the Co vs. IAC, is misplaced. In Co, the disputed area was agricultural and Ordinance No. 81-01 did not specifically provide that “it shall have retroactive effect so as to discontinue all rights previously acquired over lands located within the zone which are neither residential nor light industrial in nature,” and stated with respect to agricultural areas covered that “the zoning ordinance should be given prospective operation only.” The area in this case involves not agricultural but urban residential land. Ordinance No. 81-01 retroactively affected the operation of the zoning ordinance in Greenhills by reclassifying certain locations therein as commercial.
The instant petition is DENIED. The challenged decision of the Court of Appeals dated March 25, 1996, as well as the assailed resolution of August 13, 1996, in CA-G.R. SP No. 39193 is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
Lex prospicit, non respicit- The law looks forward, not backward.

G.R. No. L- 59234 September 30, 1982
Topic: Test of Valid Exercise

Facts: Petitioner Taxicab Operators of Metro Manila, Inc. (TOMMI) is a domestic corporation composed of taxicab operators, who are grantees of Certificates of Public Convenience to operate taxicabs within the City of Manila and to any other place in Luzon accessible to vehicular traffic. Petitioners Ace Transportation Corporation and Felicisimo Cabigao are two of the members of TOMMI, each being an operator and grantee of such certificate of public convenience.

* On October 10, 1977, respondent Board of Transportation (BOT) issued Memorandum Circular No. 77-42 which reads:

SUBJECT: Phasing out and Replacement of Old and Dilapidated Taxis

WHEREAS, it is the policy of the government to insure that only safe and comfortable units are used as public conveyances;
WHEREAS, the riding public, particularly in Metro-Manila, has, time and again, complained against, and condemned, the continued operation of old and dilapidated taxis;
WHEREAS, in order that the commuting public may be assured of comfort, convenience, and safety, a program of phasing out of old and dilapidated taxis should be adopted;
WHEREAS, after studies and inquiries made by the Board of Transportation, the latter believes that in six years of operation, a taxi operator has not only covered the cost of his taxis, but has made reasonable profit for his investments;

NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to this policy, the Board hereby declares that no car beyond six years shall be operated as taxi, and in implementation of the same hereby promulgates the following rules and regulations:

1. As of December 31, 1977, all taxis of Model 1971 and earlier are ordered withdrawn from public service and thereafter may no longer be registered and operated as taxis. In the registration of cards for 1978, only taxis of Model 1972 and later shall be accepted for registration and allowed for operation; 2. As of December 31, 1978, all taxis of Model 1972 are ordered withdrawn from public service and thereafter may no longer be registered and operated as taxis. In the registration of cars for 1979, only taxis of Model 1973 and later shall be accepted for registration and allowed for operation; and every year thereafter, there shall be a six-year lifetime of taxi, to wit:
1980 — Model 1974
1981 — Model 1975, etc.
All taxis of earlier models than those provided above are hereby ordered withdrawn from public service as of the last day of registration of each particular year and their respective plates shall be surrendered directly to the Board of Transportation for subsequent turnover to the Land
Transportation Commission. For an orderly implementation of this Memorandum Circular, the rules herein shall immediately be effective in Metro-Manila. Its implementation outside Metro- Manila shall be carried out only after the project has been implemented in Metro-Manila and only after the date has been determined by the
* On January 27, 1981, petitioners filed a Petition with the BOT, docketed as Case No. 80-7553, seeking to nullify MC No. 77-42 or to stop its implementation; to allow the registration and operation in 1981 and subsequent years of taxicabs of model 1974, as well as those of earlier models which were phased-out, provided that, at the time of registration, they are roadworthy and fit for operation.

ISSUES: 1. W/N, petitioners rights to equal protection of the law was violated 2. W/N, the BOT has valid exercise of power


On equal protection of laws

No, the petitioner’s rights to equal protection of laws was not violated. The court held that, As enunciated in the preambular clauses of the challenged BOT Circular, the overriding consideration is the safety and comfort of the riding public from the dangers posed by old and dilapidated taxis. The State, in the exercise, of its police power, can prescribe regulations to promote the health, morals, peace, good order, safety and general welfare of the people. It can prohibit all things hurtful to comfort, safety and welfare of society. It may also regulate property rights. In the language of Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando "the necessities imposed by public welfare may justify the exercise of governmental authority to regulate even if thereby certain groups may plausibly assert that their interests are disregarded". The Board's reason for enforcing the Circular initially in Metro Manila is that taxicabs in this city, compared to those of other places, are subjected to heavier traffic pressure and more constant use. This is of common knowledge. Considering that traffic conditions are not the same in every city, a substantial distinction exists so that infringement of the equal protection clause can hardly be successfully claimed.

On valid exercise of power

Yes, the BOT validly exercised their power.

Presidential Decree No. 101 grants to the Board of Transportation the power

4. To fix just and reasonable standards, classification, regulations, practices, measurements, or service to be furnished, imposed, observed, and followed by operators of public utility motor vehicles.

Section 2 of said Decree provides procedural guidelines for said agency to follow in the exercise of its powers:

Sec. 2. Exercise of powers. — In the exercise of the powers granted in the preceding section, the Board shag proceed promptly along the method of legislative inquiry. Apart from its own investigation and studies, the Board, in its discretion, may require the cooperation and assistance of the Bureau of Transportation, the Philippine Constabulary, particularly the Highway Patrol Group, the support agencies within the Department of Public Works, Transportation and Communications, or any other government office or agency that may be able to furnish useful information or data in the formulation of the Board of any policy, plan or program in the implementation of this Decree.
The Board may also can conferences, require the submission of position papers or other documents, information, or data by operators or other persons that may be affected by the implementation of this Decree, or employ any other suitable means of inquiry.

It is clear from the provision aforequoted, however, that the leeway accorded the Board gives it a wide range of choice in gathering necessary information or data in the formulation of any policy, plan or program. It is not mandatory that it should first call a conference or require the submission of position papers or other documents from operators or persons who may be affected, this being only one of the options open to the Board, which is given wide discretionary authority. Petitioners cannot justifiably claim, therefore, that they were deprived of procedural due process. Neither can they state with certainty that public respondents had not availed of other sources of inquiry prior to issuing the challenged Circulars. operators of public conveyances are not the only primary sources of the data and information that may be desired by the BOT.

The Writs prayed for are denied and this Petition is DISMISSED. No costs.


Equal protection of laws - the right of all persons to have the same access to the law and courts and to be treated equally by the law and courts, both in procedures and in the substance of the law.

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