Monday, April 2, 2012

People v Fajardo G.R. No. L-12172 August 29, 1958

J. B. L . Reyes

 Fajardo was mayor in Baao, Camrines Sur when the municipal council passed the ordinance that prohibits the construction of a building that blocks the view of the town plaza. Moreover, it redirects the grant of permission to the mayor.
After his incumbency, Fajardo applied for a permit to build a building beside the gasoline station near the town plaza. His request was repeatedly denied.  He continued with the construction under the rationale that he needed a house to stay in because the old one was destroyed by a typhoon.
He was convicted and ordered to pay a fine and demolish the building due to its obstructing view.
He appealed to the CA, which in turn forwarded the petition due to the question of the ordinance’s constitutionality.

Issue: Is the ordinance constitutional?

Held: No, petition granted.

The ordinance doesn’t state any standard that limits the grant of power to the mayor. It is an arbitrary and unlimited conferment.
Ordinances which thus invest a city council with a discretion which is purely arbitrary, and which may be exercised in the interest of a favored few, are unreasonable and invalid. The ordinance should have established a rule by which its impartial enforcement could be secured. All of the authorities cited above sustain this conclusion.
The ordinance is unreasonable and oppressive, in that it operates to permanently deprive appellants of the right to use their own property; hence, it oversteps the bounds of police power, and amounts to a taking of appellants property without just compensation.
While property may be regulated to the interest of the general welfare, and the state may eliminate structures offensive to the sight, the state may not permanently divest owners of the beneficial use of their property and practically confiscate them solely to preserve or assure the aesthetic appearance of the community.
Fajardo would be constrained to let the land be fallow and not be used for urban purposes. To do this legally, there must be just compensation and they must be given an opportunity to be heard.
An ordinance which permanently so restricts the use of property that it can not be used for any reasonable purpose goes, it is plain, beyond regulation and must be recognized as a taking of the property.
The validity was also refuted by the Admin Code which states:
SEC. 2243. Certain legislative powers of discretionary character. — The municipal council shall have authority to exercise the following discretionary powers:
x x x           x x x           x x x
(c) To establish fire limits in populous centers, prescribe the kinds of buildings that may be constructed or repaired within them, and issue permits for the creation or repair thereof, charging a fee which shall be determined by the municipal council and which shall not be less than two pesos for each building permit and one peso for each repair permit issued. The fees collected under the provisions of this subsection shall accrue to the municipal school fund.
Since, there was absolutely no showing in this case that the municipal council had either established fire limits within the municipality or set standards for the kind or kinds of buildings to be constructed or repaired within them before it passed the ordinance in question, it is clear that said ordinance was not conceived and promulgated under the express authority of sec. 2243 (c)

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