[G.R. NO. 166735 : September 5, 2006]
SPOUSES NEREO and NIEVA DELFINO, Petitioners, v. ST. JAMES HOSPITAL, INC. and HON. RONALDO B. ZAMORA, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
Before Us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, assailing the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 60495, dated 20 January 2003, which affirmed the Decision2 of the Office of the President, dated 26 March 1999, and the Resolution3 dated 11 August 2000, reinstating the grant to respondent St. James Hospital, Inc. of a Locational Clearance and a Certificate of Locational Viability (CLV) for its expansion as a four-storey, forty-bed capacity hospital.
St. James Hospital was established in 1990 as a two-storey, ten-bed capacity hospital in Mariquita Pueblo Subdivision in Santa Rosa, Laguna. In 1994, it applied for a permit with the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) to expand its hospital into a four-storey, forty-bed capacity medical institution. Thus, on 23 November 1994, Reynaldo Pambid, HLURB Deputized Zoning Administrator for Santa Rosa, Laguna, issued a "temporary" clearance for the expansion of said hospital. Said issuance was challenged by herein petitioners spouses Nereo and Nieva Delfino, residents of Mariquita Pueblo Subdivision, on the ground that the proposed expansion is in violation of the provisions of the 1981 Santa Rosa Municipal Zoning Ordinance. Thereafter, Mr. Pambid referred the matter for evaluation by his superiors.
On 19 April 1995, HLURB Regional Office No. IV Director Alfredo M. Tan II issued a letter explaining that the issuance of a "temporary" clearance is not allowed under existing laws for it may be erroneously construed as a permit to start construction. Director Tan, however, opined that under existing HLURB guidelines, CLVs may be issued to certain projects for purposes of securing an Environment Compliance Certification (ECC) from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
On the strength of said opinion, Mr. Pambid revoked the temporary clearance issued to St. James Hospital and declared the expansion as not viable. The municipal engineer of Santa Rosa, Laguna, also suspended the hospital's building permit, while DENR Regional Executive Director Antonio Principe issued a cease and desist order on 16 August 1995. Nevertheless, upon written representation of the hospital's operator, Dr. Jose P. Santiago, that the St. James Hospital will retain the same number of beds maintained in the hospital, Mr. Pambid issued a CLV dated 29 October 1995 for the hospital's expansion project. Upon protest from the petitioners, Mr. Pambid thereafter suspended the issued CLV.
In the interim, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Laguna passed on 11 December 1995 Resolution No. 811, approving the 1991 Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) or the Comprehensive Zoning new Zoning Ordinance, hospitals are now excluded from the list of viable institutions within the residential zone of Santa Rosa, Laguna.
Oblivious of the approval of the 1991 Zoning Ordinance, Mr. Pambid issued on 1 February 1996 a Certificate of Zoning Compliance or Locational Clearance for the two-storey, ten-bed St. James Hospital citing as basis the provisions of the 1981 Santa Rosa Municipal Zoning Ordinance. On 14 March 1996, Mr. Pambid likewise issued a CLV for a four-storey, forty-bed hospital expansion project in favor of St. James Hospital.
These issuances of Mr. Pambid were, however, invalidated by HLURB Director Ordinance of the Municipality of Santa Rosa, Laguna. Under the Tan on 25 April 1996, as it violated, according to Director Tan, the provisions of the 1991 Zoning Ordinance. As a result thereof, Mr. Pambid suspended the locational clearance issued to St. James Hospital and elevated the matter to the HLURB for disposition. According to Mr. Pambid, he received a copy of the new Zoning Ordinance only on 14 February 1996, two weeks after issuing the locational clearance.
On 16 May 1996, petitioners filed before the HLURB Regional Office No. IV a letter-complaint against Mr. Pambid for issuing the CLV in violation of both the 1981 and 1991 Zoning Ordinances, and against Dr. Santiago for continuing with the expansion project despite the invalidation of the CLV issued by Mr. Pambid.
In reply to petitioners' complaint, St. James Hospital maintained that there is a need to expand the existing hospital to address the acute deficiency of medical facilities in the municipality, and that the project is permissible under the new Zoning Ordinance. Furthermore, it pointed out that the project has been favorably endorsed not only by the residents of Mariquita Pueblo Subdivision, but also by the residents of other neighboring communities. St. James Hospital also argued that it has already incurred millions of pesos in losses for every day of delay in the construction.
Pursuant to HLURB Rules, the case was elevated to the HLURB Legal Services Group (LSG), and was assigned to Arbiter Erwin T. Daga. During the course of the proceedings, Arbiter Daga issued the following Orders:
On 4 March 1997, Dr. Santiago filed before the HLURB Board of Commissioners a Motion seeking the inhibition of Arbiter Daga for partiality, which was subsequently denied.
On 16 July 1997, after the parties have submitted their respective position papers and draft decisions, Arbiter Daga rendered a Decision in favor of petitioners, the dispositive portion of which reads:
Aggrieved by the aforecited Decision, St. James Hospital appealed to the HLURB Board of Commissioners asserting that the proposed expansion of the hospital conforms to the 1991 Zoning Ordinance. Resolving said appeal, the HLURB effectively modified Arbiter Daga's Decision, ruling that the existing hospital, with its original two-storey, ten-bed capacity, is allowable under the old 1981 Zoning Ordinance and may be allowed to continue as a medical institution within the Mariquita Pueblo Subdivision even after the effectivity of the 1991 Zoning Ordinance. However, the HLURB opined that the new construction of commercial buildings within the said residential zone, such as the forty-bed capacity expansion building of St. James Hospital, is repugnant to Section 2, Article VI of the 1991 Santa Rosa Municipal Zoning Ordinance and, hence, should be disallowed. Thus, on 13 January 1998, the HLURB Special Division rendered a Decision, to wit:
The separate Motions for Reconsideration of both parties having been denied by the HLURB, the parties elevated the case to the Office of the President, which rendered a decision on 26 March 1999 in favor of St. James Hospital. According to the Office of the President:
The Motion for Reconsideration of herein petitioners having been denied in a Resolution dated 11 August 2000, petitioners appealed to the Court of Appeals. In the assailed Decision dated 20 January 2003, the appellate court affirmed the Decision of the Office of the President, adopting the latter's conclusion that the establishment/expansion of the St. James Hospital is not a proscribed land use in the designated residential zone known as Mariquita Pueblo Subdivision.
Petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration was subsequently denied in a Resolution dated 14 January 2005. Hence, the instant Petition.
From the facts of the case, it is undisputed that the Mariquita Pueblo Subdivision located at Barangay Dita, Santa Rosa, Laguna, is located within an area classified as a residential zone under both the 1981 and 1991 Zoning Ordinances. There is also no question that a two-storey, ten-bed capacity hospital, such as St. James Hospital, was allowed to be constructed within a residential zone under the 1981 Zoning Ordinance. Likewise, it is apparent that under the 1981 Zoning Ordinance, the proposed expansion of the St. James Hospital into a four-storey, forty-bed capacity hospital would be disallowed as it violates the restriction set by said Zoning Ordinance regarding permissible activities within a residential zone, which specifically limits any medical institution built within a residential zone to a two-storey, ten-bed capacity structure.
Nonetheless, with the passage of the 1991 Zoning Ordinance, the proposed expansion of the St. James Hospital must now be decided in light of the provisions of the new Zoning Ordinance. Hence, the pivotal issue now to be resolved in this Petition is whether or not the proposed expansion of St. James Hospital into a four-storey, forty-bed capacity medical institution may be permitted under the 1991 Zoning Ordinance. However, in order to settle the present controversy, it is essential that we determine the effect of the enactment of the 1991 Zoning Ordinance with respect to the proposed expansion of the St. James Hospital in view of the deletion therein of the phrase "hospitals with not more than ten capacity" from those enumerated as allowable uses in a residential zone as contained in Section 2, Article VI of the 1981 Zoning Ordinance.
Section 2, Article VI of the 1981 Zoning Ordinance states:
On the other hand, Section 2, Article VI of the 1991 Zoning Ordinance reads:
The enactment of the 1991 Zoning Ordinance effectively repealed the 1981 Zoning Ordinance. This intent to repeal is manifested in the very wordings of the 1991 Zoning Ordinance. The complete title of said Ordinance, "An Ordinance Adopting a Comprehensive Zoning Regulation for the Municipality of Santa Rosa, Laguna and Providing for the Administration, Enforcement and Amendment Thereof. And for the Repeal of all Ordinances in Conflict Therewith," as well as the Repealing Clause10 of the same Ordinance which states that "all other ordinances, rules or regulations that are in conflict with the provisions of this ordinance are hereby repealed,"11 clearly express the intent of the Sangguniang Bayan of Santa Rosa, Laguna, to repeal any enactment that is inconsistent with the new Ordinance. The inclusion of this general repealing provision in the Ordinance predicated the intended repeal under the condition that a substantial conflict must be found in existing and prior acts.
This is what is known as an implied repeal. Repeal by implication proceeds on the premise that where a statute of later date clearly reveals an intention on the part of the legislature to abrogate a prior act on the subject, that intention must be given effect.12 There are two categories of implied repeal. The first is where the provisions in the two acts on the same subject matter are in an irreconcilable conflict, the latter act to the extent of the conflict constitutes an implied repeal of the earlier one.13 The second is if the later act covers the whole subject of the earlier one and is clearly intended as a substitute, it will operate to repeal the earlier law.14 The second category of repeal is only possible if the revised statute was intended to cover the whole subject matter and as a complete and perfect system in itself. It is the rule that a subsequent statute is deemed to repeal a prior law if the former revises the whole subject matter of the former statute.15
In the case at bar, there is no doubt that the 1991 Zoning Ordinance not only covers the same, but embraces the whole subject matter contained in the 1981 Zoning Ordinance, and was enacted to substitute the latter. A perusal of the two pieces of legislation will reveal that both Ordinances were enacted to guide, control, and regulate the future growth and development of the Municipality of Santa Rosa, Laguna, in accordance with the municipality's development plan, as well as to promote the general welfare of the residents of the community by regulating the location and use of all buildings and land within the municipality. However, unlike the 1981 Zoning Ordinance, the 1991 Zoning Ordinance clearly identifies the development plan to which it is patterned after, specifically the development plan adopted by the Sangguniang Bayan through Kapasiyahan Blg. 20-91, dated 20 February 1991. Considering that the 1981 Zoning Ordinance was not in furtherance of the later development plan, consequently, there was the necessity to adopt a new statute to effect the changes contained therein, hence, the adoption of the 1991 Zoning Ordinance.
Since it is presumed that the Sangguniang Bayan knew of the existence of the older Ordinance, by enacting the later law embracing the complete subject matter of the 1981 Zoning Ordinance, it must be concluded that the legislative body had intended to repeal the former Ordinance. With respect to the omission of the phrase "hospitals with not more than ten capacity" from the 1991 Zoning Ordinance, we conclude that the Sangguniang Bayan did intend to remove such building use from those allowed within a residential zone. As ruled by this Court, when both intent and scope clearly evince the idea of a repeal, then all parts and provisions of the prior act that are omitted from the revised act are deemed repealed.16
Likewise, it must be stressed at this juncture that a comprehensive scrutiny of both Ordinances will disclose that the uses formerly allowed within a residential zone under the 1981 Zoning Ordinance such as schools, religious facilities and places of worship, and clinics and hospitals have now been transferred to the institutional zone under the 1991 Zoning Ordinance.17 This clearly demonstrates the intention of the Sangguniang Bayan to delimit the allowable uses in the residential zone only to those expressly enumerated under Section 2, Article VI of the 1991 Zoning Ordinance, which no longer includes hospitals.
It is lamentable that both the Office of the President and the Court of Appeals gave undue emphasis to the word "institutional" as mentioned in Section 2, Article VI of the 1991 Zoning Ordinance and even went through great lengths to define said term in order to include hospitals under the ambit of said provision. However, they neglected the fact that under Section 4, Article VI of said Ordinance18, there is now another zone, separate and distinct from a residential zone, which is classified as "institutional", wherein health facilities, such as hospitals, are expressly enumerated among those structures allowed within said zone.
Moreover, both the Office of the President and the appellate court failed to consider that any meaning or interpretation to be given to the term "institutional" as used in Section 2, Article VI must be correspondingly limited by the explicit enumeration of allowable uses contained in the same section. Whatever meaning the legislative body had intended in employing the word "institutional" must be discerned in light of the restrictive enumeration in the said article. Under the legal maxim expressio unius est exclusio alterius, the express mention of one thing in a law, means the exclusion of others not expressly mentioned.19 Thus, in interpreting the whole of Section 2, Article VI, it must be understood that in expressly enumerating the allowable uses within a residential zone, those not included in the enumeration are deemed excluded. Hence, since hospitals, among other things, are not among those enumerated as allowable uses within the residential zone, the only inference to be deduced from said exclusion is that said hospitals have been deliberately eliminated from those structures permitted to be constructed within a residential area in Santa Rosa, Laguna.
Furthermore, according to the rule of casus omissus in statutory construction, a thing omitted must be considered to have been omitted intentionally. Therefore, with the omission of the phrase "hospital with not more than ten capacity" in the new Zoning Ordinance, and the corresponding transfer of said allowable usage to another zone classification, the only logical conclusion is that the legislative body had intended that said use be removed from those allowed within a residential zone. Thus, the construction of medical institutions, such as St. James Hospital, within a residential zone is now prohibited under the 1991 Zoning Ordinance.
Be that as it may, even if the St. James Hospital is now considered a non-conforming structure under the 1991 Zoning Ordinance as it is located in a residential zone where such use is no longer allowed, said structure cannot now be considered illegal. This is because the St. James Hospital was constructed during the effectivity of the 1981 Zoning Ordinance, and, as earlier stated, under the said Ordinance, the construction of a two-storey, ten-bed capacity hospital within a residential zone is explicitly allowed.
Having concluded that the St. James Hospital is now considered a non-conforming structure under the 1991 Zoning Ordinance, we now come to the issue of the legality of the proposed expansion of said hospital into a four-storey, forty-bed medical institution. We shall decide this said issue in accordance with the provisions of the 1991 Zoning Ordinance relating to non-conforming buildings, the applicable law at the time of the proposal. As stated in Section 1 of Article X of the 1991 Zoning Ordinance:
It is clear from the abovequoted provision of the 1991 Zoning Ordinance that the expansion of a non-conforming building is prohibited. Hence, we accordingly resolve that the expansion of the St. James Hospital into a four-storey, forty-bed capacity medical institution within the Mariquita Pueblo Subdivision is prohibited under the provisions of the 1991 Zoning Ordinance.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition is hereby GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 60495, dated 20 January 2003, is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and a new Decision entered:
Panganiban, C.J., Chairperson, Ynares-Santiago, Austria-Martinez, Callejo, Sr., JJ., concur.
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