CASE DIGEST: Spouses Hipolito vs. Cinco

G.R. No. 174143: November 28, 2011

SPOUSES RICARDO HIPOLITO, JR. and LIZA HIPOLITO, Petitioners, v. TERESITA CINCO,CARLOTA BALDE CINCO and ATTY. CARLOS CINCO, Respondents.

DEL CASTILLO, J.:


FACTS:

Petitioner-spouses allege that on June 15, 1989, Edeltrudis entered into an agreement with Francisco Villena (now deceased) to rent a portion of the property located at 2176 Nakar Street, San Andres Bukid, Manila and to construct an apartment-style building adjacent to the existing house thereon. The contract was for a period of 20 years. Pursuant to the agreement, Edeltrudis built a three-storey apartment building. Petitioners inherited the apartment building upon the death of Edeltrudis.

In 2002 or 13 years after the execution of the agreement, petitioners and the heirs of Francisco Villena, all residing in the property, were informed that respondent Atty. Carlos D. Cinco (Atty. Cinco) acquired the subject property through a deed of sale sometime in 1976.

Respondents filed with the OBO a verified request for structural inspection.

In his memorandum, Engr. Rico reported that two old and dilapidated buildings made of wooden materials were found in the premises and recommended that the matter be referred to the Committee on Buildings (Committee) for further appropriate action and disposition.

Deemed as a petition for condemnation/abatement pursuant to the National Building Code (NBC), the verified request of the respondents was referred to the Committee for Hearing/ Investigation.

With prior notices to the parties and the tenants, hearings were subsequently held for purposes of resolving the focal issue of "the structural stability, architectural presentability, electrical and fire safety aspect to determine [whether] or not the subject buildings are still safe for continued occupancy."

A report based on another ocular inspection conducted was submitted through a Memorandum which states the subject buildings are structurally unsafe as well as fire and electrical hazard thereby endangering the life, safety, health and welfare [of] the general public specifically the tenants thereat, hence, it is strongly recommended that the subject building be declared dangerous and ruinous.

The OBO declared the buildings dangerous and ruinous, and recommended their demolition. A Demolition Order addressed to the respondents.

Petitioners thus appealed to the DPWH.

On May 19, 2004, the Secretary of the DPWH rendered a Resolution dismissing the appeal of the petitioners for lack of merit and affirming the Resolution of the OBO and the issuance of the Demolition Order.

Undaunted, petitioners filed an appeal with the OP but the same was denied. An MR was also denied.

Aggrieved, petitioners filed a Petition for Review with the CA which dismissed their petition. An MR was likewise denied.

Unwilling to concede, petitioners now come before this Court by way of Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45.

ISSUE: (1) Whether OBO can render the challenged issuances, (2) Whether the CA erred in relying on OBOs report when it rendered the assailed decision.

HELD: The petition lacks merit.

OBO CAN RENDER THE CHALLENGED ISSUANCES

The Building Official was authorized to issue the questioned Demolition Order in view of his finding that the disputed structures are dangerous and ruinous buildings within the purview of P.D. No. 1096. Correspondingly, no irregularity in the process in which the resolution and demolition order were issued is evident. The records show that the OBO issued the resolution and Demolition Order only after ocular inspections and hearings. The Inspectorate Team of the DPWH came up with the same conclusion when it conducted its own ocular inspection of the premises.

CAS RELIANCE ON OBO REPORT

The mandate of the OBO is to act motu proprio, or upon petition validly received, on reported dangerous and ruinous buildings and structures that pose a threat to the life, health and well-being of the inhabitants, and the general public.Otherwise stated, respondents motive in initiating the proceedings which led to the issuance of the challenged OBO Resolution and Demolition Order is immaterial as far as the OBO is concerned, so long as it is satisfied that a building or structure is dangerous and ruinous. Remarkably, both the DPWH and the OP found no irregularities in the manner that officials of the OBO performed their duties and in coming up with its Resolution and Demolition Order. This conclusion was affirmed by the CA when it resolved the petition before it. We find no error on the part of the CA when it relied on the findings of fact of the OBO and the other administrative bodies.

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