Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Powers of HLURB; powers of administrative agency are limited by the Constitution or the law creating it.

LEXBER, INC. VS. CAESAR M. AND CONCHITA B. DALMAN, G.R. No. 183587, April 20, 2015.

“x x x.

Section 5⁠13 of Executive Order 64836 of the HLURB’s charter, enumerates the powers that the HLURB is authorized to exercise.

Section 8 of the same law also provides the functions which had been transferred from the National Housing Authority to the HLURB, viz:

Regulation of the real estate trade and business;
Registration of subdivision lots and condominium projects;
Issuance of license to sell subdivision lots and condominium units in the registered units;
Approval of performance bond and the suspension of license to sell;
Registration of dealers, brokers and salesman engaged in the business of selling subdivision lots or condominium units;
Revocation of registration of dealers, brokers and salesmen;
Approval or mortgage on any subdivision lot or condominium unit made by the owner of developer;
Granting of permits for the alteration of plans and the extension of period for completion of subdivision or condominium projects;
Approval of the conversion to other purposes of roads and open spaces found within the project which have been donated to the city or municipality concerned;
Regulation of the relationship between lessors and lessees; and
Hear and decide cases on unsound real estate business practices; claims involving refund filed against project owners, developers, dealers, brokers or salesmen and cases of specific performance.

An examination of these functions confirms that in sharp contrast to the BSP and the IC, nowhere in the HLURB’s charter is it expressly or impliedly granted the power to appoint the rehabilitation receivers of financially distressed corporations under its supervision and regulation.

An administrative agency’s powers are limited to those expressly conferred on it or granted by necessary or fair implication in its enabling act. In our constitutional framework, which mandates a limited government, its branches and administrative agencies exercise only those powers delegated to them as “defined either in the Constitution or in legislation, or in both.”⁠14

Notably, the powers granted to the HLURB are focused on its regulation of real estate companies to ensure that the investing public is protected from fraudulent real estate practices. These powers do not touch upon the HLURB’s authority to intervene in the general corporate acts, e.g. the rehabilitation, of those under its supervision.

While it may be argued that the HLURB should be informed of the financial rehabilitation of a real estate company, to enable it to intelligently and meaningfully exercise its functions, the law is clear that the HLURB’s prior request for the appointment of a receiver of real estate companies, is not a condition sine qua non before the trial court can give due course to their rehabilitation petition.

X x x.”