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1. G.R. No.

175039

ADDITION HILLS MANDALUYONG CIVIC & SOCIAL ORGANIZATION, INC.,


Petitioner,
- versus -

MEGAWORLD PROPERTIES & HOLDINGS, INC., WILFREDO I. IMPERIAL, in his capacity as Director, NCR,
and HOUSING AND LAND USE REGULATORY BOARD, DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES,
Respondents.

At the outset, the parties in their various pleadings discuss issues, although ostensibly legal,
actually require the Court to make findings of fact. It is long settled, by law and jurisprudence, that the
Court is not a trier of facts.[10] Therefore, the only relevant issue to be resolved in this case is whether or
not the remedy sought by the petitioner in the trial court is in violation of the legal principle of the
exhaustion of administrative remedies.

We have consistently declared that the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is a


cornerstone of our judicial system. The thrust of the rule is that courts must allow administrative
agencies to carry out their functions and discharge their responsibilities within the specialized areas of
their respective competence. The rationale for this doctrine is obvious. It entails lesser expenses and
provides for the speedier resolution of controversies. Comity and convenience also impel courts of
justice to shy away from a dispute until the system of administrative redress has been completed. [11]

In the case of Republic v. Lacap,[12] we expounded on the doctrine of exhaustion of


administrative remedies and the related doctrine of primary jurisdiction in this wise:

The general rule is that before a party may seek the intervention of the court, he
should first avail of all the means afforded him by administrative processes. The issues
which administrative agencies are authorized to decide should not be summarily taken
from them and submitted to a court without first giving such administrative agency the
opportunity to dispose of the same after due deliberation.

Corollary to the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is the doctrine of


primary jurisdiction; that is, courts cannot or will not determine a controversy involving
a question which is within the jurisdiction of the administrative tribunal prior to the
resolution of that question by the administrative tribunal, where the question demands
the exercise of sound administrative discretion requiring the special knowledge,
experience and services of the administrative tribunal to determine technical and
intricate matters of fact.[13]

It is true that the foregoing doctrine admits of exceptions, such that in Lacap, we also held:
Nonetheless, the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies and the
corollary doctrine of primary jurisdiction, which are based on sound public policy and
practical considerations, are not inflexible rules. There are many accepted exceptions,
such as: (a) where there is estoppel on the part of the party invoking the doctrine; (b)
where the challenged administrative act is patently illegal, amounting to lack of
jurisdiction; (c) where there is unreasonable delay or official inaction that will
irretrievably prejudice the complainant; (d) where the amount involved is relatively
small so as to make the rule impractical and oppressive; (e) where the question involved
is purely legal and will ultimately have to be decided by the courts of justice; (f) where
judicial intervention is urgent; (g) when its application may cause great and irreparable
damage; (h) where the controverted acts violate due process; (i) when the issue of non-
exhaustion of administrative remedies has been rendered moot; (j) when there is no
other plain, speedy and adequate remedy; (k) when strong public interest is involved;
and, (l) in quo warranto proceedings. x x x.[14]

2. [G.R. No. 137862. November 11, 2004]


ALFREDO ESTRADA, RENATO T. CANILANG and MANUEL C. LIM, petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS
AND BACNOTAN CEMENT CORPORATION (BCC), respondents.

“xxx the jurisdiction of the trial courts anent abatement of nuisance in general cannot prevail over the
specific, specialized and technical jurisdiction of the DENR-PAB; under the doctrine of exhaustion of
administrative remedies, where competence to determine the same issue is placed in the trial court and
an administrative body and the issue involves a specialized and technical matter, relief should first be
sought before the administrative body prior to instituting suit before the regular courts; xxx”

“xxxx
The doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies requires that resort be first made with
the administrative authorities in the resolution of a controversy falling under their jurisdiction before the
same may be elevated to a court of justice for review. If a remedy within the administrative machinery is
still available, with a procedure pursuant to law for an administrative officer to decide the controversy, a
party should first exhaust such remedy before going to court. A premature invocation of a courts
intervention renders the complaint without cause of action and dismissible on such ground