See - Buyers
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Jurisdiction on Cases for Violation of PD 957
A violation of the provisions of PD 957, as amended, carries civil and criminal liabilities which are punishable primarily under PD 957 and other applicable penal laws.
An aggrieved buyer of a subdivision house and lot or a condominium unit may file the civil aspect of the violation with the HLURB, a quasi-judicial government agency for housing and land development. The proceedings on the civil case is governed by Rules of Procedure of HLURB. The proceedings is summary in nature and the provisions of the Rules of Court is not applicable except in a suppletory character.
The said buyer may file, or the HLURB through its Regional Office may refer , the criminal aspect of the violation with Task Force Subdivision and Condominium in the Provincial or City Prosecutors Office of the province or city where the subdivision or condominium project is located.
The civil case filed in the HLURB does not constitute as a prejudicial question to the criminal case. The criminal case and the civil case can proceed independently of each other whether the civil action is filed ahead or previous to the criminal case.
This is clarified in the recently issued Department Order 27 dated July 25, 2007 of the Department of Justice, to wit:
“Department Circular No. 27
PRESCRIBING RULES AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION OF CRIMINAL CASES ARISING FROM VIOLATIONS OF PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 957 AS AMENDED BY PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1344
WHEREAS, there are prosecutors investigating criminal cases arising from violations of PD No. 957 as amended by PD No. 1344 who dismiss such cases when there are pending civil actions before the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) by considering the latter as constitutive of prejudicial question to the criminal cases.
WHEREAS, there are prosecutors who file criminal cases arising from PD 957 as amended by PD No. 1344 with the appropriate courts regardless of the pendency of related civil cases filed in the HLURB.
WHEREAS, it is necessary to have guidelines for all prosecutors investigating cases arising from PD 957 as amended by PD 1344 to avoid confusion on the matter.
NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to the provisions of exisitng laws, the following rules and regulations are hereby adopted to govern the investigation of criminal cases arising from PD No. 957 as amended by PD No. 1344.
Section 1 – Criminal complaints for violations of PD 957 as amended by PD 1344 may be filed directly with the Office of the Provincial or City Prosecutor of the place where the subdivisions, condominiums, housing projects or developments are located;
Section 2 – The HLURB, throug the Task Force Subdivision and Condominium, may refer to the appropriate Office of Provincial or City Prosecutor, for preliminary investigation criminal cases arising from violations of PD 957 and amended by PD 1344.
Section 3 – Whether the criminal cases are directly filed or through the HLURB Task Force, the preliminary investigation shall be conducted in accordance with the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure and when warranted, the proper information shall be filed in court.
Section 4 – Any related civil action filed or pending in the HLURB shall not constitute as a prejudicial question to the criminal case. The criminal action and the civil action shall proceed independently of each other whether the civil action is filed ahead on previous to the criminal case.
Section 5 – The criminal action, when pursued, shall not include the civil action when the basis of which is vested exclusively in the HLURB.
Section 6 – This Department Circular is effective immediately.
July 25, 2007.”
(SGD) RAUL M. GONZALES
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