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[G.R. No. 84811. August 29, 1989.

]
SOLID HOMES, INC., petitioner, vs. TERESITA
PAYAWAL and COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.

FACTS:
Teresita Payawal, herein respondent filed a complaint
against Solid Homes, Inc. before the Regional Trial
Court of Quezon City. It was alleged that petitioner
contracted to sell to her a subdivision lot in Marikina,
and had already paid the defendant the agreed amount of
P38,949.87 in monthly instalments. Solid Homes
subsequently executed a deed of sale over the land but
failed to deliver the certificate of title. It was found that
the former had mortgaged the property in bad faith to a
financing company. Payawal asked either for delivery of
the title to the lot or, the return of all the amounts paid
by her plus interest.
Solid Homes moved to dismiss the complaint on the
ground that the court had no jurisdiction, this being
vested in the National Housing Authority (NHA)
under PD No. 957 citing Sec. 3 of the decree. Payawal
on the other hand relies on BP 129 which confers on
regional trial courts jurisdiction to hear and decide cases
mentioned in its Sec. 19. After trial, judgment was
rendered in favor of the herein respondent. Solid Homes
appealed but the decision was affirmed by the
respondent court.

In case of conflict between a general law and a special


law, the latter must prevail regardless of the dates of
their enactment. A strict construction of the subject
provisions of PD No. 1344 which would deny the HSRC
the authority to adjudicate claims for damages and for
damages and for attorney's fees would result in
multiplicity of suits in that the
subdivision/condominium buyer who wins a case in the
HSRC and who is thereby deemed entitled to claim
damages and attorney's fees would be forced to litigate
in the regular courts for the purpose, a situation which is
obviously not in the contemplation of the law.
As a result of the growing complexity of the modern
society, it has become necessary to create more and
more administrative bodies to help in the regulation of
its ramified activities. Specialized in the particular fields
assigned to them, they can deal with the problems
thereof with more expertise and dispatch than can be
expected from the legislature or the courts of justice.
This is the reason for the increasing vesture of quasilegislative and quasi-judicial powers in what is now not
unreasonably called the fourth department of the
government.
Statutes conferring powers on their administrative
agencies must be liberally construed to enable them to
discharge their assigned duties in accordance with the
legislative purpose.

ISSUE: W/N NHA has jurisdiction to try the case and


the competence to award damages
HELD:
The Court reversed the decision of the CA, and
sustained the contention of Solid Homes Inc. in finding
that the National Housing Authority (NHA) has
jurisdiction over the case.
The applicable law is PD No. 957, as amended by PD
No. 1344, Section 1 of the latter decree provides: In the
exercise of its function to regulate the real estate trade
and business and in addition to its powers provided for
in Presidential Decree No. 957, the National Housing
Authority shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and
decide cases of the following nature: A. Unsound real
estate business practices; B. Claims involving refund
and any other claims filed by subdivision lot or
condominium unit buyer against the project owner,
developer, dealer, broker or salesman; and
C. Cases involving specific performance of contractual
and statutory obligations filed by buyers of subdivision
lot or condominium unit against the owner, developer,
dealer, broker or salesman.
Undoubtedly, "exclusive jurisdiction" over the case
between the petitioner and the private respondent is
vested not in the Regional Trial Court but in the
National Housing Authority.

CHRISTIAN
GENERAL
INC.v.IGNACIO
G.R. No. 164789 | August 27, 2009

ASSEMBLY,

FACTS
CGA entered into a Contract to Sell a subdivision lot
with the respondents the registered owners and
developers of a housing subdivision, Villa Priscilla. The
price was payable in instalments at an extended period
of 5 years.
CGA religiously paid the monthly installments until it
was discovered that the title covering the subject
property was actually part of two consolidated lots that
the respondents had acquired from his former tenantbeneficiaries whose subject property had been placed
under PD 27s Operation Land Transfer. According to
CGA, Imperial applied for the retention of five hectares
of her land under Republic Act No. 6657, which the
Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) granted.
CGA filed a complaint against the respondents before
the RTC; and claimed that the respondents fraudulently
concealed the fact that the subject property was part of a
property under litigation. CGA sought for the rescission
of contract

Ignacio filed a motion to dismiss asserting that the RTC


had no jurisdiction over the case and claimed that the
case falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the
HLURB since it involved the sale of a subdivision lot.
CGA opposed the motion to dismiss, claiming that the
action is for rescission of contract, not specific
performance, and is not among the actions within the
exclusive jurisdiction of the HLURB.
ISSUE
Which of the two the regular court or the HLURB
has exclusive jurisdiction over CGAs action for
rescission and damages.
HELD
The Court affirmed the decision of the CA in finding
that HLURB has exclusive jurisdiction over CGAs
action for rescission and damages.
Based on the allegations, the main thrust of the CGA
complaint is clear to compel the respondents to
refund the payments already made for the subject
property because the respondents were selling a
property that they apparently did not own. Since the
respondents cannot comply with their obligations under
the contract, i.e., to deliver the property free from all
liens and encumbrances, CGA is entitled to rescind the
contract and get a refund of the payments already made.
The cause of action falls under the actions contemplated
by Paragraph (b), Section 1 of PD No. 1344, which
reads:
SEC. 1.In the exercise of its functions to regulate the
real estate trade and business and in addition to its
powers provided for in Presidential Decree No. 957, the
National Housing Authority shall have exclusive
jurisdiction to hear and decide cases of the following
nature:
xxx xxx xxx
B.Claims involving refund and any other claims filed by
subdivision lot or condominium unit buyer against the
project owner, developer, dealer, broker or salesman;
The surge in the real estate business in the country
brought with it an increasing number of cases between
subdivision owners/developers and lot buyers on the
issue of the extent of the HLURBs exclusive
jurisdiction.
The provisions of PD 957 were intended to encompass
all questions regarding subdivisions and condominiums.
The intention was aimed at providing for an appropriate
government agency, the HLURB, to which all parties
aggrieved in the implementation of provisions and the
enforcement of contractual rights with respect to said

category of real estate may take recourse. The business


of developing subdivisions and corporations being
imbued with public interest and welfare, any question
arising from the exercise of that prerogative should be
brought to the HLURB which has the technical knowhow on the matter. In the exercise of its powers, the
HLURB must commonly interpret and apply contracts
and determine the rights of private parties under such
contracts. This ancillary power is no longer a uniquely
judicial function, exercisable only by the regular courts.
Regardless of whether the rescission of contract is based
on Article 1191 or 1381 of the Civil Code, the fact
remains that what CGA principally wants is a refund of
all payments it already made to the respondents. This
intent, amply articulated in its complaint, places its
action within the ambit of the HLURB's exclusive
jurisdiction and outside the reach of the regular courts.
Accordingly, CGA has to file its complaint before the
HLURB, the body with the proper jurisdiction.