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FACTS:

The property is a 10.36 hectare property in Baguio City called Section 3(2) of Executive Order 561 states that:
Dominican Hills. It was mortgaged to the UCPB which The resolution, order or decision of the Commission on any of the
foreclosed the mortgage, acquired the same as highest foregoing cases shall have the force and effect of a regular
bidder, and was donated to the Republic of the Philippines by administrative resolution, order or decision and shall be binding upon
the parties therein and upon the agency having jurisdiction over the
UCPB. The deed of donation stipulated that the property same
would be utilized for the "priority programs, projects, activities
in human settlements and economic development and The COSLAP may not assume jurisdiction over cases which
governmental purposes" of the Ministry of Human are already pending in the regular courts. Section 3(2) of
Settlements Executive Order 561 speaks of any resolution, order or
decision of the COSLAP as having the "force and effect of a
However, the Ministry of Human Settlements was abolished regular administrative resolution, order or decision." The
when President Corazon Aquino issued EO No. 85. All the qualification places an unmistakable emphasis on the
agencies as well as all the assets, programs and projects of administrative character of the COSLAP's determination,
the Ministry were transferred to the Presidential Management amplified by the statement that such resolutions, orders or
Staff (PMS) decisions "shall be binding upon the parties therein and upon
the agency having jurisdiction over the same."
PMS received an application from petitioner UNITED
RESIDENTS OF DOMINICAN HILL, INC. (UNITED) to acquire The COSLAP discharges quasi-judicial functions:
a portion of the Dominican Hills property. PMS Secretary "Quasi-judicial function" is a term which applies to the actions,
referred the application to the HOME INSURANCE GUARANTY discretion, etc. of public administrative officers or bodies, who are
CORPORATION (HIGC). A MOA was signed by and among the required to investigate facts, or ascertain the existence of facts, hold
PMS, the HIGC, and UNITED where PMS would sell the hearings, and draw conclusions from them, as a basis for their official
property to HIGC which would, in turn, sell the same to action and to exercise discretion of a judicial nature."
UNITED. Eventually, HIGC sold the property to UNITED
However, it does not depart from its basic nature as an
Sometime in 1993, private respondents, DOMINICAN HILL administrative agency, albeit one that exercises quasi-judicial
BAGUIO RESIDENTS HOMELESS ASSOCIATION functions. Still, administrative agencies are not considered
(ASSOCIATION), entered the Dominican Hills property courts; they are neither part of the judicial system nor are
allocated to UNITED and constructed houses. Petitioner they deemed judicial tribunals. Accordingly, the executive
secured a demolition order. department may not, by its own fiat, impose the judgment of
one of its own agencies, upon the judiciary. Indeed, under the
Private respondents filed an action for injunction docketed as expanded jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, it is empowered
Civil Case No. 3316-R but their prayer for writ of preliminary "to determine whether or not there has been grave abuse of
injunction was later denied. While Civil Case No. 3316-R was discretion amounting to lack of or excess of jurisdiction on the
pending, private respondents filed Civil Case No. 3382-R part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.
represented by the Land Reform Beneficiaries Association,
Inc. (BENEFICIARIES). They prayed for the damages,
injunction and annulment of the said Memorandum of
Agreement between UNITED and HIGC which was dismissed
by the trial court.

Another demolition order was subsequently implemented. To


forestall the re-implementation of the demolition order,
private respondents filed petition for annulment of
contracts with prayer for a temporary restraining
order in the Commission on the Settlement of Land
Problems (COSLAP) against petitioner HIGC, PMS, the City
Engineer's Office, the City Mayor, as well as the Register of
Deeds of Baguio City. Public respondent COSLAP issued
the contested order requiring the parties to maintain
the status quo.

Petitioner then filed the instant petition

ISSUE:
Is COSLAP empowered to hear and try a petition for
annulment of contracts with prayer for a temporary
restraining order and to issue a status quo order and conduct
a hearing?

RULING:
No. The COSLAP is not justified in assuming jurisdiction over
the controversy