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FORTICH vs.

CORONA 298 SCRA 678

Facts: This pertains to the two (2) separate motions for reconsideration filed by herein respondent and the applicants for intervention, seeking a reversal of our April 24, 1998 Decision nullfying the so-called "win-win" Resolution dated November 7, 1997, issued by the Office of the President in O.P. Case No. 96-C-6424, and denying the applicants Motion For Leave To Intervene. The issue in this case stems from a proposed agro-economic development of the disputed land which the province of Bukidnon and the municipality of Sumilao, Bukidnon intend to undertake. Expressing full support for the proposed project, the Sangguniang Bayan of Sumilao, Bukidnon on March 4, 1193 enacted Ordinance No. 24 converting or reclassifying the subject 144-hectare land from agricultural to industrial/institutional use. It was intended to provide an opportunity to attract investors, who can inject new economic vitality, provide more jobs and raise the income of its people. Bukidnon Provincial Board also supported the said project. Issue: Whether or not the power of the local government units to reclassify lands is subject to the approval of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Held: Local Government Units need not obtain the approval of the DAR to convert or reclassify lands from agricultural to non-agricultural use. It should be stressed that when the March 29, 1996 OP Decision was declared final and executory, vested rights were acquired by the herein petitioners, namely, the province of Bukidnon, the municipality of Sumilao, Bukidnon, and the NQSR Management and Development Corporations, and all others who should be benefited by the said decision. The issue here is not a question of technicality but that of substance and merit. Whether the Sangguniang Bayan of Sumilao has the legal authority to reclassify the land into industrial/institutional use, the March 29, 1996 OP Decision has thoroughly and properly disposed the issue. Converting the land in question from agricultural to agro-industrial would open great opportunities for employment and bring about real development in the area towards a sustained economic growth of the municipality. Procedural lapses in the manner of identifying/reclassifying the subject property for agro-industrial purposes cannot be allowed to defeat the very purpose of the law granting autonomy to local

government units in the management of their local affairs. Stated more simply, the language of Section 20 of R.A. No. 7160 is clear and affords no room for any other interpretation. By unequivocal legal mandate, it grants local governments units autonomy in their local affairs including the power to convert portions of their agricultural lands and provide for the manner of their utilization and disposition to enable them to attain their fullest development as self-reliant communities.

MUNICIPALITY OF PARAAQUE, petitioner, vs. V.M. REALTY CORPORATION, respondent. 292 SCRA 676

Facts: Pursuant to Sangguniang Bayan Resolution No. 93-95, Series of 1993, the Municipality of Paraaque filed on September 20, 1993, a Complaint for expropriation against Private Respondent V.M. Realty Corporation, over two parcels of land located at Wakas, San Dionisio, Paraaque, Metro Manila. Allegedly, the complaint was filed "for the purpose of alleviating the living conditions of the underprivileged by providing homes for the homeless through a socialized housing project." It was also for this stated purpose that petitioner, pursuant to its Sangguniang Bayan Resolution No. 577, Series of 1991, previously made an offer to enter into a negotiated sale of the property with private respondent, which the latter did not accept. Issue: Whether or not the Resolution of the Paraaque Municipal Council No. 93-95, Series of 1993 is a substantial compliance of the statutory requirement in the exercise of its power of eminent domain Held: The following essential requisites must concur before an LGU can exercise the power of eminent domain: 1.An ordinance is enacted by the local legislative council authorizing the local chief executive, in behalf of the LGU, to exercise the power of eminent domain or pursue expropriation proceedings over a particular private property. 2.The power of eminent domain is exercised for public use, purpose or welfare, or for the benefit of the poor and the landless. 3.There is payment of just compensation, as required under Section 9, Article III of the Constitution, and other pertinent laws. 4.A valid and definite offer has been previously made to the owner of the property sought to be expropriated, but said offer was not accepted.

In the case at bar, the local chief executive sought to exercise the power of eminent domain pursuant to a resolution of the municipal council. Thus, there was no compliance with the first requisite that the mayor be authorized through an ordinance. A valid ordinance is required before an LGU can exercise the power of eminent domain. A mere resolution will not suffice.