- Spouses Delfino v. St. James Hospital, Inc.
- G.R. No. 166735 (Resolution)
- CHICO-NAZARIO, J :
- Decision Date
SPECIAL THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 166735. November 23, 2007.
SPS. NEREO & NIEVA DELFINO, petitioners, vs. ST. JAMES HOSPITAL, INC., and THE HONORABLE RONALDO ZAMORA, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT. respondents.
R E S O L U T I O N
CHICO-NAZARIO, J p:
Before Us for Resolution is the Motion for Reconsideration of private respondent St. James Hospital, Inc., seeking the reversal of Our Decision dated 5 September 2006. Respondent assails the Decision on the ground that the Court had erroneously interpreted the 1991 Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) or the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance of the Municipality of Santa Rosa, Laguna, in ruling that the St. James Hospital is a non-conforming structure under the 1991 Zoning Ordinance and 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. Moreover, respondent now contends that the case must now be decided in accordance with the latest Zoning Ordinance passed in 1999 or the Santa Rosa Zoning Ordinance which was only submitted as evidence in the instant Motion for Reconsideration.
Respondent now claims that the legislative history of the 1991 Zoning Ordinance shows that commercial and institutional uses were expressly allowed in Sec. 2, par. 1 of said Ordinance as it retained uses that are commercial and institutional as well as recreational in character and those for the maintenance of ecological balance. Thus, respondent postulates that even if parks, playgrounds and recreation centers which were expressly provided for in the 1981 Zoning Ordinance under letters (h) and (k) were excluded in the enumeration in the 1991 Zoning Ordinance, the same cannot, by any stretch of logic, be interpreted to mean that they are no longer allowed. On the contrary, respondent explains that what appears is the fact that parks, playgrounds, and recreation centers are deemed to have been covered by Sec. 2, par. 1 of the 1991 Zoning Ordinance which speaks of ". . . other spaces designed for recreational pursuit and maintenance of ecological balance . . . ." Hence, respondent concludes that the same reading applies in the non-inclusion of the words hospitals, clinics, school, churches and other places of worship, and drugstores which cannot be interpreted to mean that the aforesaid uses are to be deemed non-conforming under the 1991 Zoning Ordinance as these uses are allegedly covered by the clause allowing for institutional and commercial uses.
Arising from this interpretation, respondent maintains that the Court erred in applying Sec. 1 of Article X of the 1991 Zoning Ordinance which pertains only to existing non-conforming uses and buildings, since, according to respondent, the St. James Hospital and its expansion are consistent with the uses allowed under the zoning ordinance. STaCcA
To address this matter, we deem it necessary to reiterate our discussion in our Decision dated 5 September 2006, wherein we have thoroughly examined the pertinent provisions of the 1981 and 1991 Zoning Ordinances, to wit:
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. 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 Ordinance, 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 expression unius est exclusion alterius, the express mention of one thing in a law, means the exclusion of others not expressly mentioned. 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. CTAIDE
xxx xxx xxx
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:
Section 1. EXISTING NON-CONFORMING USES AND BUILDINGS. The lawful uses of any building, structure or land at the point of adoption or amendment of this Ordinance may be continued, although such does not conform with the provisions of this Ordinance.
1. That no non-conforming use shall be enlarged or increased or extended to occupy a greater area or land that has already been occupied by such use at the time of the adoption of this Ordinance, or moved in whole or in part to any other portion of the lot parcel of land where such non-conforming use exist at the time of the adoption of this Ordinance. (Emphasis ours.)
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 as prohibited under the provisions of the 1991 Zoning Ordinance.
From our discussion above, it is clear that the position of respondent is erroneous. As stated in our Decision, a comprehensive scrutiny of both zoning 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 been transferred to the institutional zone under the 1991 Zoning Ordinance. This clearly indicates that the allowable uses in the residential zone have been delimited only to those expressly enumerated under Section 2, Article VI of the 1991 Zoning Ordinance, which no longer includes hospitals.
With respect to respondent's claim that the controversy must now be decided in light of latest Zoning Ordinance passed in 1999 or the Santa Rosa Zoning Ordinance, it must be stressed at this point that the present case arose in 1994 when respondent St. James Hospital, Inc., 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, at which time, the zoning ordinance in effect was the 1991 Zoning Ordinance. It is a well-settled rule that the law in force at the time of the occurrence of the cause of action is the applicable law notwithstanding its subsequent amendment or repeal. Hence, in resolving the instant case, the zoning ordinance to be used in interpreting the legality or illegality of said expansion is that which was in full force and effect at the time of the application for expansion which is the 1991 Zoning Ordinance, regardless of its subsequent amendment or repeal by the passage of the 1999 Zoning Ordinance. IDSETA
Moreover, pleadings, arguments and evidence were submitted by both parties as regards the provisions of the 1991 Zoning Ordinance only. Apparently, the 1999 Zoning Ordinance was already enacted and in effect by the time the petitioners appealed their case to this Court on 7 February 2005. Petitioners, however, in their appeal, consistently maintained their argument that the expansion undertaken by the respondent in 1994 violated the 1991 Zoning Ordinance, and respondent likewise limited itself to the defense that it had complied therewith. It bears to emphasize that respondent called the attention of this Court to the enactment of the 1999 Zoning Ordinance and asserted its compliance with this latest zoning ordinance only in its Motion for Reconsideration before this Court. Points of law, theories, issues and arguments not adequately brought to the attention of the trial court need not be, and ordinarily will not be, considered by a reviewing court as they cannot be raised for the first time on appeal because this would be offensive to the basic rules of fair play, justice and due process. This rule holds even more true when the points of law, theories, issues and arguments are belatedly raised for the first time in the motion for reconsideration of this Court's decision.
Accordingly, the Motion for Reconsideration of respondent St. James Hospital, Inc., is hereby DENIED. However, this is without prejudice to respondent St. James Hospital, Inc.'s reapplication for expansion in accordance with the requirements under zoning ordinances now in effect.
Ynares-Santiago, Quisumbing, Austria-Martinez and Reyes, JJ., concur.
1. Article VI, Section 4. USE REGULATIONS IN INSTITUTIONAL ZONE In the Institutional Zone, only the following shall be allowed:
1. Government center to move all national, regional, or local offices in the area;
2.1. Public/Private Elementary schools.
2.2. Municipal/Barangay/Private high schools
3. Health facilities;
3.1. Emergency hospital
3.2 Health centers
3.3. Multi-purpose clinics
3.4 Day-care centers
4. Religious Facilities such as churches, chapels and other places of worships.
5. Scientific, cultural and academic centers and research facilities. (CA rollo, pp. 51 and 54)
2. Id. ADEaHT
3. G.R. No. L-35376, 11 September 1980, 99 SCRA 651.
4. CA rollo, p. 64.
5. G.R. No. 75968, 7 November 1991, 203 SCRA 338, 341, citing G.R. No. 78254, 25 April 1991, 196 SCRA 263, 268; 112 Phil. 588, 592 (1961); 39 Phil. 23, 27 (1918).
6. 328 Phil. 814, 823 (1996).