That Nickel’s Law

Sept. 30-Oct. 6, 2010


By Cha Monforte

So there, by long lapse of 30-day reglamentary period, that Nickel’s law (I’ll not yet to up a local ante for that stupid Lina Law, for the Urban Development and Housing Act -UDHA that former Senator Joey Lina authored) was deemed automatically approved after all. That, by the inaction of two Sangguniang Panlalawigan bodies, the recent and the present.

Last Monday, Manong Tony told the Sangguniang Panlalawigan secretary Dennis Dean Castillo to “back up your allegation” before the latter released his relayed opinion that there were quite unfavorable findings in the legal opinion of the Provincial Legal Office to the housing code ordinance of Tagum City authored by City Councilor Nicandro “Nickel” Suaybaguio Jr, junior of Sir Nick Suaybaguio Sr (older brother of Vice Gov. Victorio “Baby” Suaybaguio Jr). I missed Manong Tony’s cuts in the plenary. Anyway, his few verbal bomb flickers last Monday formed a dud as what dawned subsequently were the oral argumentations of Boardmember Atty. Raymond Joey Millan.

Millan, the only lawyer in the DavNor SP (while Comval SP has 3 lawyers- BMs Arvin Dexter Lopoz, Ruwel Peter Gonzaga and Josielyn Romano) got the collective nod of the BMs around to send the Nickel’s Law to the SP secretary for certification that indeed there was a lapse in the required 30-day reglamentary period and that the measure was already deemed automatically approved. So Manong Tony was not able to have his form ala lawyer at the podium.

Anyway, the matter now is already water under the bridge and resurrecting it to be “unconstitutional” is already deemed moot and academic. But who knows someone will love Atty. Jennifer Namoc’s legal opinion, and sue the SP just for the heck of earning an SCRA like having a Larry Ilagan doctrine or the Miranda doctrine in wanting to be immortalized during the burning of midnight candles of so many ambitious law students wanting to be abugados like the 61-year old urban poor leader cum mediaman Loloy Ibanez (hehe) who now goes with his bag full of books and xerox copies to St. Tomas More Law School day by day.

It’s a pitiful that as we go to the press SP secretary Castillo and his assistant secretary did not furnish us a copy of Atty. Namoc’s legal opinion on the unconstitutional provisions of that Nickel’s Law. Maybe the SP assistant sec needs to be reminded that the legal opinion is a public document and being so it should be accessible to the public as told by the Consti (she’s also unconstitutional). Namoc’s legal opinion to the city housing code is already in the SP secretariat’s possession and a staffer of the Provincial Legal Office said that it should better be secured from the SP secretariat. Bola-bola. Anyway, the SP sec and Atty. Namoc can be excused since they were not in their respective offices when I went there Wednesday to ask for it.

So we can only deduce as we go to the press. What goes wrong with that Nickel’s law should be its Section 25 that sets the minimum of 10-meter road right of way (RROW) and not the minimum 6.5-meter RROW as provided by a national law, Batas Pambansa 220, which sets standards for socialized housing projects. So from now on, developers have to comply with the city rules. And those new urban poor associations maximizing the residential use of their scarce land have also to follow, realign and re-block spaces along the city policy on a so spacious 10-meter RROW. There are pros and cons on this policy. It’s stupid local law if it retroacts to pending offsite Community Mortgage Program (CMP) projects whose documents have long been submitted to Social Housing Finance Corp (SHFC) in Manila but are still without the city’s accreditation and approval as to the locational clearance (PALC) and development permit (DP).

That Nickel’s law can be stupid if it is enforced to an onsite CMP project that is based on simple subdivision plan, on “where is, as is” formation of onsite housing structures. You mean Kons Nickel that the urban poor members who negotiated with the landowner to buy the land they have long occupied would have to give way to the 10-meter RROW within their negotiated land, else they would not be given PALC and DP, things that the SHFC really requires from CMP projects? Onsite CMP projects under that Nickel’s law would end up landless for having less of lots and more of roads.

The problem of that Nickel’s Law is that there would no longer be onsite CMP projects that can be launched in the city from now on and beyond given that it does not even has exemption and deviation provision in it while it asks for many technical and space requirements that the urban poor associations can hardly comply, or if they can comply some, they have to spend much and suffer of so much inconvenience from spatial realignments and reblocking.

The other obvious infirmity that Nickel’s Law is Section 49 on the prohibition of transfer of title. What? It should now be unlawful to transfer the certificate of title over property within 25 years from issuance thereof except only for two reasons- when the property is inherited or the title is used to secure a bank loan due for a housing purpose? Hehe, a title means perfection of ownership and anybody under the sun can use it for anything he wants. This covers, too, even in socialized housing projects funded by the city government. The provision of 25 years is only applicable to lots that are still being amortized by beneficiaries for 25-30 years. This is an infirmed provision, which encompasses all the lots while neither it has provision that allows sale and transfer of titles over lots that are already fully paid and perfectly owned by the beneficiaries. This is clearly a mistake. Just nobody can put a blame to a poor living in an urban poor housing area who becomes rich later because he strikes gold-rich veins in Pamintaran mountain or his daughter becomes a Japayuki, and has paid his amortized lot in full before the 25-year period and he is now selling his lot so he could move out from the urban poor area to lower middle-class or high-end subdivision.

It seems now that just when that approved Nickel’s Law reaches to the city legislative department following an SP’s transmittal it ought to be automatically become a measure for amendment and revision just because of these infirmities.

But Kons Nickel shouldn’t be begrudged for these but the legal minds in the city council and in the SP (read: the legislator lawyers). He labored so much in crafting and finetuning the housing code for two years including making consultations and revising it after first getting flaks two years go for seeking a five-year deferment in the approval of new urban poor subdivision projects. His precursor measure seeking to thumb down urban poor housing projects in the city for 5 years was returned by the SP to the city council in November 2008. But Kons Nickel staged a rebound when he raced in Christmastime

of 2009 to introduce a more comprehensive measure with lessons learned from that SP spurn.

However, Kons Nickel can still sleep well with codes’s separability provision in so far as that issue on the right to transfer the title is concerned. But for that constraining provision against onsite CMP, I donno since the power of the housing board conceived is limited, recommendatory and cannot overrule the “harsh but it is a law” provisions of the code themselves. Hence, the route is still amendment to correct an infirmity.

BLOGS AND BITS: Comval Governor Arturo “Chiongkee” Uy has called on the national government to always give a say to the provincial and local governments in coming out whatever national decisions involving Mt. Diwata. The governor has since been clamoring for this knowing that his provincial government has been deploying gargantuan resources and efforts in mainstreaming Diwalwal to become safe, peaceful and environment-friendly. But first things first. When the Comval PG spends it should also be compensated with the right to earn more taxes from Diwalwal. The Phiippine Mining Development Corp. could not just get income and excise taxes from Diwalwal mining without sharing it to host LGUs.

Heard from a Capitol nook that Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo del Rosario has already filed his leave of absence which would start next week. That would be first week of October. Earlier, he said that by mid October he would be travelling again to California to be in the side of his son, District 2 Congressman Antonio Rafael del Rosario (AGR) by the time the latter’s stem cell transplant will start at the Stanford Cancer Center. Prayers are mounting now for Cong. AGR’s total healing.

Viva Sta. Teresita sa Batang Hesus! Nabunturanons will be celebrating the 59th parochial feast of the Patron Saint on Oct. 2-3. (


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