The jurisdiction of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) is broad enough to include jurisdiction over complaints for annulment of foreclosure sale, mortgage, and the grant of incidental reliefs such as a Cease and Desist Order (CDO).
Thus held the Supreme Court, in a decision penned by Justice Conchita Carpio Morales, as it dismissed a petition filed by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) questioning HLURB’s jurisdiction over mortgages and foreclosed properties. The GSIS also argued that the HLURB Revised Rules of Procedure did not vest authority in the Board’s Second Division to entertain appeals.
The Court noted that even PD 957, The Subdivision and Condominium Buyers Protective Decree, authorizes the HLURB, as successor of the National Housing Authority, to issue CDOs in relevant cases.
Named respondents in the petition of the GSIS were the Board of Commissioners of the HLURB Second Division, the Board of Commissioners of the HLURB National Capital Region Field Office, spouses Marcelino H. De los Reyes and Alma T. De los Reyes, and developer New San Jose Builders Inc.
In 1997, New San Jose Builders, Inc. (NSJBI) mortgaged to GSIS three parcels of land with existing improvements, 366 lots with low-cost houses, and 102 condominium units located in Quezon City to secure the payment of a PhP600 million loan. Among the mortgaged properties was a condominium unit which was later sold by NSJBI to the spouses De Los Reyes without delivering the Condominium Certificate covering the said unit.
In 2003, GSIS foreclosed the mortgage and purchased the properties covered by the said mortgage after NSJBI defaulted in its loan obligation. The spouses De los Reyes discovered the foreclosure and eventual sale of their condominium to GSIS, prompting them to file a complaint against NSJBI with the HLURB, praying that the GSIS be restrained from consolidating its title to the condominium unit. The HLURB granted the motion of the spouses De los Reyes and issued a Cease and Desist Order against the GSIS, barring it from consolidating ownership of the unit.
On appeal, both the HLURB Second Division and the HLURB en banc ruled that the mortgage and the acquisition by the GSIS of the unit were void. The Court of Appeals upheld the HLURB’s ruling and ordered the HLURB Arbiter to proceed with dispatch in the disposition of the spouses De los Reyes’ complaint. (GR No. 180062, GSIS v. Board of Commissioners [2nd Division] HLURB, May 5, 2010)