Tuesday, July 7, 2015

FIRST DIVISION G.R. No. 200454 October 22, 2014 HOLY TRINITY REALTY & DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, Petitioner, vs. VICTORIO DELA CRUZ, LORENZO MANALAYSAY, RICARDO MARCELO, JR. and LEONCIO DE GUZMAN, Respondents.

The Dakila property was not an agricultural land within the coverage of R.A.No. 6657 or P.D. No. 27
The CA declared that the Dakila property as an agricultural land; and that there was no valid reclassification under Municipal Resolution No. 16-98 because the law required an ordinance, not a resolution.
We agree in part with the CA.
Under Republic Act No. 7160, local government units, such as the Municipality of Malolos, Bulacan, are vested with the power to reclassify lands. However, Section 20, Chapter II, Title I of Republic Act No. 7160 ordains:
Section 20. Reclassification of Lands. – (a) A city or municipality may, through an ordinance passed by the sanggunian after conducting public hearings for the purpose, authorize the reclassification of agricultural lands and provide for the manner of their utilization or disposition in the following cases: (1) when the land ceases to be economically feasible and sound for agricultural purposes as determined by the Department of Agriculture or(2) where the land shall have substantially greater economic value for residential, commercial, or industrial purposes, as determined by the sanggunian concerned: x x x. (Emphasis supplied)
Clearly, an ordinance is required in order to reclassify agricultural lands, and such may only be passed after the conduct of public hearings.
The petitioner claims the reclassification on the basis of Municipal Resolution No. 16-98. Given the foregoing clarifications, however, the resolution was ineffectual for that purpose. A resolution was a mere declaration of the sentiment or opinionof the lawmaking body on a specific matter that was temporary in nature, and differed from an ordinance in that the latter was a law by itself and possessed a general and permanent character.49 We also note that the petitioner did not show if the requisite public hearings were conducted at all.In the absence of any valid and complete reclassification,therefore, the Dakila property remained under the category of an agricultural land.
Nonetheless, the Dakila property was not an agricultural land subject to the coverage of Republic Act No. 6657 or Presidential Decree No. 27.

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