Teotico vs. Baer

27 Mar

JOSEFINA TEOTICO (ALSO KNOWN AS BABY SANTANA), Petitioner,

vs.

ROSARIO D. BAER, Respondent.

G.R. No. 147464             June 8, 2006

 

FACTS:

  • Respondent filed before the HLURB an amended complaint for specific performance, damages and attorney’s fees against petitioner as the administratrix of the estate of her late husband.
  • Petitioner allegedly refused to execute an absolute deed of sale in respondent’s favor despite complete payment of a residential lot located in Rizal which was sold to her by the petitioner’s husband, who died during the pendency of the case.
  • The HLURB rendered judgment by default against petitioner for her failure to file her answer to the complaint despite the proper service of summons.
  • The HLURB issued a writ of execution of its decision but petitioner refused to comply with it.
  • In her opposition to respondent’s motion for execution and satisfaction of decision, petitioner argued that the HLURB decision was null and void because respondent allegedly failed to prove petitioner was appointed as the administratrix of the estate of her late husband.
  • The HLURB, however, denied petitioner’s opposition for being “dilatory and without merit.”
  • Petitioner went up to the Court of Appeals via a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.
  • However, the CA dismissed the petition on the ground of failure to exhaust all administrative remedies.
  • Petitioner moved for a reconsideration of the decision of the CA alleging that the 30-day period for filing a petition for review before the HLURB and to appeal to the Office of the President, had already elapsed when she learned of the judgment of default rendered against her.
  • She further argued that she immediately went to the CA because there was an urgent need for judicial intervention due to the patent nullity of the HLURB judgment.
  • The CA denied the motion for reconsideration for lack of merit.
  • Hence, petitioner filed a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court to the SC.

 

ISSUE:

  • Whether or not petitioner failed to exhaust all administrative remedies.

 

RULING:

  • Yes.
  • The HLURB is the sole regulatory body for housing and land development.
  • It is charged with encouraging greater private sector participation in low-cost housing through liberalization of development standards, simplification of regulations and decentralization of approvals for permits and licenses.
  • The HLURB has established rules of procedure in the adjudication of the cases before it.
  • Under the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies, recourse through court action cannot prosper until after all such administrative remedies have first been exhausted.
  • If remedy is available within the administrative machinery, this should be resorted to before resort can be made to courts.
  • It is settled that non-observance of the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies results in lack of cause of action, which is one of the grounds in the Rules of Court justifying the dismissal of the complaint.
  • Here, petitioner failed to exhaust her administrative remedies when she directly elevated to the CA the HLURB arbiter’s decision without appealing it first to the Board and then later, the Office of the President.
  • She has failed to convince the SC that her case is one of those exempted from the application of the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies.

 

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