December 6, 2021

SC denies appeal to install genset in condo

MANILA – The Supreme Court (SC) has turned down the petition of a real estate developer, asking for a review of the Court of Appeals (CA) decision that sided with a retired general’s opposition against the installation of generators.

In a resolution recently made available online, the SC’s Second Division denied the petition filed by Cathay Land, Inc. and affirmed the CA’s 2011 decision, which it said “can no longer be reviewed as it had since become final and immutable”.

The CA reversed the ruling of the Pasig Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 157 that dismissed the civil suit filed by retired Brig. Gen. Angel Sadang against Cathay Land Inc. for violation of Republic Act No. 8749, or the Clean Air Act.

Aside from abating the installation of the machineries at the 35-storey Astoria Plaza condominium along Escriva Drive in Pasig City, Sadang, whose house was adjacent to the project, also sought PHP100,000 in damages.

Cathay sought to put four power blowers/condensers, exhaust ducts, and two units of diesel-fed generator sets.

Sadang claimed the installation of the machineries produced all kinds of air pollutants, excessive noise, smoke, and noxious odor.

The CA reversed the Pasig RTC and said that contrary to Cathay’s claim, there was no forum shopping because the suits filed before the lower court and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Pollution Adjudication Board (DENR-PAB) were not the same.

“The case lodged before the DENR-PAB pertained to the installation and operation of machineries. On the other hand, in the civil case, the issues of nuisance as governed by the Civil Code and claim for damages are beyond the jurisdiction of an administrative body to resolve,” the SC said.

The SC likewise rejected the developer’s claim that the deadline for appealing the case is not binding since they did not receive a copy of the same after their lawyers reportedly changed office addresses.

Ruling against the developer’s arguments, the SC noted that the firm’s offices at 23rd Galleria Corporate Center in Quezon City is the same office address of its lawyers.

“The Court will not allow every defeated party, in order to salvage his case, to claim that he failed to receive the court’s adverse ruling,” the tribunal said, adding that otherwise “court proceedings will become indefinite, and be subject to reopening at any time”. (PNA)

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