Case Digest: NATALIA REALTY, INC., AND ESTATE DEVELOPERS AND INVESTORS CORP. vs DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM, G.R. No. 103302 August 12, 1993
NATALIA REALTY, INC., AND ESTATE DEVELOPERS AND INVESTORS CORP. vs
DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM
G.R. No. 103302 August 12, 1993
Petitioner Natalia Realty, Inc. is the owner of three (3) contiguous parcels of land located in Banaba, Antipolo, Rizal, with areas of 120.9793 hectares, 1.3205 hectares and 2.7080 hectares, or a total of 125.0078 hectares, and embraced in Transfer Certificate of Title No. 31527 of the Register of Deeds of the Province of Rizal.
On 18 April 1979, Presidential Proclamation No. 1637 set aside 20,312 hectares of land located in the Municipalities of Antipolo, San Mateo and Montalban as townsite areas to absorb the population overspill in the metropolis which were designated as the Lungsod Silangan Townsite. The NATALIA properties are situated within the areas proclaimed as townsite reservation.
Since private landowners were allowed to develop their properties into low-cost housing subdivisions within the reservation, petitioner Estate Developers and Investors Corporation, as developer of NATALIA properties, applied for and was granted preliminary approval and locational clearances by the Human Settlements Regulatory Commission. The necessary permit for Phase I of the subdivision project, which consisted of 13.2371 hectares, was issued sometime in 1982; for Phase II, with an area of 80,000 hectares, on 13 October 1983; and for Phase III, which consisted of the remaining 31.7707 hectares, on 25 April 1986. Petitioner were likewise issued development permits after complying with the requirements. Thus the NATALIA properties later became the Antipolo Hills Subdivision.
Whether or not DAR incurred grave abuse of discretion for including undeveloped portions of the Antipolo Hills Subdivision within the coverage of the CARL.
Yes. Since the NATALIA lands were converted prior to 15 June 1988, respondent DAR is bound by such conversion. It was therefore error to include the undeveloped portions of the Antipolo Hills Subdivision within the coverage of CARL.
Lands not devoted to agricultural activity are outside the coverage of CARL. These include lands previously converted to non-agricultural uses prior to the effectivity of CARL by government agencies other than respondent DAR.
Supreme Court rule for petitioners and hold that public respondents gravely abused their discretion in issuing the assailed Notice of Coverage of 22 November 1990 by of lands over which they no longer have jurisdiction.
WHEREFORE, the petition for Certiorari is GRANTED. The Notice of Coverage of 22 November 1990 by virtue of which undeveloped portions of the Antipolo Hills Subdivision were placed under CARL coverage is hereby SET ASIDE.