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SPS. RODOLFO CENTENO AND NENA CENTENO, et al vs GLOBE TELECOM, INC., CA-G.R. CV No.

85254

FACTS: 1. Spouses Centeno are residents of Calaocan, Alicia, Isabela. Defendants Globe through Magnu Restu, now Asiacom filed an application for the construction of Globe Tower Antenna. 2. Plaintiffs opposed and subsequently filed a petition before the municipality of Alicia, Isabela on the ground that it is hazardous to their health and the health of other residents. Parties were notified for the hearing but later postponed. However, the plaintiffs were not notified on the subsequent hearings. 3. On October 1, 2003, the sangguniang bayan passed a resolution approving the application of Globe. 4. Subsequently, Globe started the construction and was about to finish the same when the plaintiffs filed a case to the trial court. The plaintiffs appealed to the Trial court claiming that they were deprived of the right of due process. 5. The Trial court dismissed the petition for failing to exhaust administrative remedies available for them. The plaintiffs raised it to the Court of Appeals. ISSUES: 1. Whether or not the case was premature amounting to the dismissal of the case for failure to exhaust administrative remedies 2. Whether or not there was a deprivation of the right of due process for the plaintiffs 3. Whether or not the health, lives and properties of the residents were put to real and imminent danger by the construction and operation of the Globe tower Antenna 4. Whether or not the sangguniang bayan committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction for approving the construction of the Tower. RULING: 1. The doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies calls for resort first to the appropriate administrative authorities in the resolution of a controversy falling under their jurisdiction before the same may be elevated to the courts of justice for review, and non observance thereof is a ground for the dismissal of the complaint. Failure to exhaust available administrative remedies is fatal to ones cause of action. Plaintiffappellant could have raised first the issue to the mayor for veto or the sangguniang panlalawigan for review of the assailed resolution. Thus, plaintiff-appellants petition is without merit. 2. The evidence on record, however, do not support appellants' allegations. Appellants were given an opportunity and right to be heard concerning

their objection to and grievances on the construction of the antenna tower through their petition dated 18 March 2003 which was submitted before Sangguniang Bayan. Itbears stressing that due process does not necessarily mean or require a hearing, but simply an opportunity or right to be heard. One may be heard, not solely by verbal presentation but also, and perhaps many times more creditably and practicable than oral argument, through pleadings. In administrative proceedings. Moreover, technical rules of procedure and evidence are not strictly applied as administrative process cannot be fully equated with due process in its strict judicial sense. Indeed, deprivation of due process cannot be successfully invoked where a party was given the chance to be heard as in the instant case. 3. The issues on the health and safety of the residents could have been raised also before the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. The petition is denied. The decision of the RTC is upheld and affirmed.