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Laguna Lake Development Authority vs.

Court of Appeals
G.R.No. 120865-71
Facts:
The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) was created through RA No.
4850 in order to execute the policy towards environmental protection and
sustainable development so as to accelerate the development and balanced
growth of the Laguna Lake area and the surrounding provinces and towns.
PD No. 813 amended certain sections of RA 4850 since water quality studies
have shown that the lake will deteriorate further if steps are not taken to
check the same.
EO 927 further defined and enlarged the functions and powers of the LLDA
and enumerated the towns, cities and provinces encompassed by the term
Laguna de Bay Region.
Upon implementation of RA 7160 (Local Government Code of 1991), the
municipalities assumed exclusive jurisdiction & authority to issue fishing
privileges within their municipal waters since Sec.149 thereof provides:
Municipal corporations shall have the authority to grant fishery privileges in
the municipal waters and impose rental fees or charges therefore
Big fishpen operators took advantage of the occasion to establish fishpens &
fish cages to the consternation of the LLDA.
The implementation of separate independent policies in fish cages & fish pen
operation and the indiscriminate grant of fishpen permits by the lakeshore
municipalities have saturated the lake with fishpens, thereby aggravating the
current environmental problems and ecological stress of Laguna Lake.
The LLDA then served notice to the general public that (1) fishpens, cages &
other aqua-culture structures unregistered with the LLDA as of March 31,
1993 are declared illegal; (2) those declared illegal shall be subject to
demolition by the Presidential Task Force for Illegal Fishpen and Illegal Fishing;
and (3) owners of those declared illegal shall be criminally charged with
violation of Sec.39-A of RA 4850 as amended by PD 813.
A month later, the LLDA sent notices advising the owners of the illegally
constructed fishpens, fishcages and other aqua-culture structures advising
them to dismantle their respective structures otherwise demolition shall be
effected.
Plaintiff:

Laguna Lake Development Corporation

Defendant: Court of Appeals

Issue:
Which agency of the government the LLDA or the towns and municipalities
comprising the region should exercise jurisdiction over the Laguna lake and
its environment insofar as the issuance of permits for fishery privileges is
concerned?
Ruling:
Sec.4(k) of the charter of the LLDA, RA 4850, the provisions of PD 813,and
Sec.2 of EO No.927, specifically provide that the LLDA shall have exclusive
jurisdiction to issue permits for the use of all surface water for any projects or
activities in or affecting the said region. On the other hand, RA 7160 has
granted to the municipalities the exclusive authority to grant fishery
privileges on municipal waters. The provisions of RA 7160 do not necessarily
repeal the laws creating the LLDA and granting the latter water rights
authority over Laguna de Bay and the lake region.
Where there is a conflict between a general law and a special statute, latter
should prevail since it evinces the legislative intent more clearly than the
general statute. The special law is to be taken as an exception to the general
law in the absence of special circumstances forcing a contrary conclusion.
Implied repeals are not favored and, as much as possible, effect must be
given to all enactments of the legislature. A special law cannot be repealed,
amended or altered by a subsequent general law by mere implication.
The power of LGUs to issue fishing privileges was granted for revenue
purposes. On the other hand, the power of the LLDA to grant permits for
fishpens, fish cages, and other aqua-culture structures is for the purpose of
effectively regulating & monitoring activities in the Laguna de Bay region and
for lake control and management. It partakes of the nature of police power
which is the most pervasive, least limitable and most demanding of all state
powers including the power of taxation. Accordingly, the charter of the LLDA
which embodies a valid exercise of police power should prevail over the LGC
of 1991 on matters affecting Laguna de Bay.