November 24, 2020

Members of A Better Real Estate Philippines (ABREP) and DivinaLaw recently filed a class-action petition for Declaratory Relief to amend the decade-old Real Estate Service Act of 2009 (RESA).

In a virtual press conference given by ABREP, DivinaLaw Senior Partner Atty. Estrella C. Elamparo clarified that the case filed is non-adversarial in nature. The respondents are the two government agencies implementing RESA – Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and the Professional Regulatory Board of Real Estate Service. The petitioners are members of ABREP who are representatives from the real estate industry.

“The case is limited to one provision of the RESA Law – section 32-A – which contains the “1-is-to-20” broker to sales person ratio requirement.”

“Our position is that this provision is illegal or unconstitutional because it is not a valid exercise of the police power (of the State) and assuming that it is deemed legal or constitutional, it should be interpreted to apply only for corporations and partnerships, and not to individuals or single proprietorships.”

Atty. Elamparo shared that this particular provision was not deliberated upon, according to House and Senate records. Moreover, although the heading of the actual provision is “Corporations and Partnerships,” some people have interpreted the “1-is-to-20” requirement as applicable to individual proprietorships as well.

“Even the PRC is interpreting it that way. Given that ambiguity, the Court has to declare that this is the proper interpretation: single proprietorships are not covered.”

Atty. Elamparo believes this petition will be a welcome development to the government agencies impleaded since it is also in their interest to have the law clarified to help them in its implementation.

DivinaLaw’s involvement in the ABREP movement however, goes beyond the mere filing of a case.

“The bigger effort, I believe, is to have the law amended,” Atty. Elamparo said. “We want to overhaul the law. We are helping the movement amend the RESA Law to address not just one provision but actually a lot of the provisions (including) concerning the regulatory authorities and the process of accreditation. There are many provisions that need to be addressed and that cannot be addressed by the filing of a case, so we will help advocate for the amendment. We actually drafted the draft bill that will be submitted to Congress.”

Legislative Advocacy and Policy Reform is one of DivinaLaw’s major practice areas because the Firm recognizes that there are many instances when a client’s problems cannot be addressed by litigation and it would be better addressed by legislation and policy reform.