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G.R. No. 152230.

August 9, 2005
JESUS IS LORD CHRISTIAN SCHOOL FOUNDATION, INC., Petitioners,
vs.
MUNICIALIT! "#o$ CIT!% OF ASIG, METRO MANILA, Respondent.
D E C I S I O N
CALLEJO, SR., J.&
Before us is a petition for review of the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals CA! in CA"#.R. C$ No. %&'%', and its
Resolution dated (e)ruar* +,, -''-, den*in. the /otion for reconsideration thereof. 0he assailed decision affir/ed the
order of the Re.ional 0rial Court R0C! of Pasi., Branch +1', declarin. the respondent 2unicipalit* now Cit*! of Pasi. as
havin. the ri.ht to e3propriate and ta4e possession of the su)5ect propert*.
0he Antecedents
0he 2unicipalit* of Pasi. needed an access road fro/ E. R. Santos Street, a /unicipal road near the Pasi. Pu)lic 2ar4et, to
Baran.a* Sto. 0o/as Bu4id, Pasi., where 1' to 6' houses, /ostl* /ade of li.ht /aterials, were located. 0he road had to )e
at least three /eters in width, as re7uired )* the (ire Code, so that fire truc4s could pass throu.h in case of
confla.ration.2 8i4ewise, the residents in the area needed the road for water and electrical outlets. 3 0he /unicipalit* then
decided to ac7uire %+ s7uare /eters out of the +,6&+"s7uare /eter propert* of 8oren9o Chin. Cuanco, $ictor Chin. Cuanco
and Ernesto Chin. Cuanco :ho covered )* 0ransfer Certificate of 0itle 0C0! No. P0"11%,%,4 which is a)uttin. E. R.
Santos Street.
On April +&, +&&;, the Sangguniang Bayan of Pasi. approved an Ordinance5 authori9in. the /unicipal /a*or to initiate
e3propriation proceedin.s to ac7uire the said propert* and appropriate the fund therefor. 0he ordinance stated that the
propert* owners were notified of the /unicipalit*<s intent to purchase the propert* for pu)lic use as an access road )ut the*
re5ected the offer.
On =ul* -+, +&&;, the /unicipalit* filed a co/plaint, a/ended on Au.ust 1, +&&;, a.ainst the Chin. Cuancos for the
e3propriation of the propert* under Section +& of Repu)lic Act R.A.! No. 6+1', otherwise 4nown as the 8ocal #overn/ent
Code. 0he plaintiff alle.ed therein that it notified the defendants, )* letter, of its intention to construct an access road on a
portion of the propert* )ut the* refused to sell the sa/e portion. 0he plaintiff appended to the co/plaint a photocop* of the
letter addressed to defendant 8oren9o Chin. Cuanco.6
0he plaintiff deposited with the R0C +%> of the /ar4et value of the propert* )ased on the latest ta3 declaration coverin.
the propert*. On plaintiff<s /otion, the R0C issued a writ of possession over the propert* sou.ht to )e e3propriated. On
Nove/)er -1, +&&;, the plaintiff caused the annotation of a notice of lis pendens at the dorsal portion of 0C0 No. P0"&-%6&
under the na/e of the =esus Is 8ord Christian School (oundation, Incorporated =I8CS(I! which had purchased the
propert*.7 0hereafter, the plaintiff constructed therein a ce/ented road with a width of three /eters? the road was called
Da/a*an Street.
In their answer,8 the defendants clai/ed that, as earl* as (e)ruar* +&&;, the* had sold the said propert* to =I8CS(I as
evidenced )* a deed of sale9 )earin. the si.nature of defendant Ernesto Chin. Cuanco :ho and his wife.
@hen apprised a)out the co/plaint, =I8CS(I filed a /otion for leave to intervene as defendant"in"intervention, which
/otion the R0C .ranted on Au.ust -1, +&&A.10
In its answer"in"intervention, =I8CS(I averred, )* wa* of special and affir/ative defenses, that the plaintiff<s e3ercise of
e/inent do/ain was onl* for a particular class and not for the )enefit of the poor and the landless. It alle.ed that the
propert* sou.ht to )e e3propriated is not the )est portion for the road and the least )urdenso/e to it. 0he intervenor filed a
crossclai/ a.ainst its co"defendants for rei/)urse/ent in case the su)5ect propert* is e3propriated. 11 In its a/ended
answer, =I8CS(I also averred that it has )een denied the use and en5o*/ent of its propert* )ecause the road was constructed
in the /iddle portion and that the plaintiff was not the real part*"in"interest. 0he intervenor, li4ewise, interposed
counterclai/s a.ainst the plaintiff for /oral da/a.es and attorne*<s fees.12
Durin. trial, Rolando 0o.onon, the plaintiff<s /essen.er, testified on direct e3a/ination that on (e)ruar* -;, +&&;, he
served a letter of En.r. =ose Re*es, the 0echnical Assistant to the 2a*or on Infrastructure, to 8oren9o Chin. Cuanco at his
store at No. +, Al4alde =ose Street, :apasi.an, Pasi.. A lad* received the sa/e and )rou.ht it inside the store. @hen she
returned the letter to hi/, it alread* )ore the si.nature of 8u9 Bernarte. Be identified a photocop* of the letter as si/ilar to
the one he served at the store. On cross"e3a/ination, he ad/itted that he never /et 8u9 Bernarte. 13
Ed.ardo del Rosario, a resident of Sto. 0o/as Bu4id since +&,- declared that he would pass throu.h a wooden )rid.e to .o
to E. R. Santos Street. At ti/es, the )rid.e would )e slipper* and /an* had /et accidents while wal4in. alon. the )rid.e.
Because of this, the* re7uested 2a*or $icente Euse)io to construct a road therein. Be attested that after the construction of
the ce/ented access road, the residents had water and electricit*.14
Au.usto Pa9 of the Cit* En.ineer<s Office testified that, so/eti/e in +&&-, the plaintiff constructed a road perpendicular
fro/ E. R. Santos Street to Sto. 0o/as Bu4id? he was the Pro5ect En.ineer for the said underta4in.. Before the construction
of the road, the lot was raw and the* had to put fillin. /aterials so that vehicles could use it. Accordin. to hi/, the len.th of
the road which the* constructed was 6' /eters lon. and ; /eters wide so that a fire truc4 could pass throu.h. Be averred
that there is no other road throu.h which a fire truc4 could pass to .o to Sto. 0o/as Bu4id.15
2anuel 0e/)revilla, the (ire 2arshall, averred that he had seen the new road, that is, Da/a*an Street, and found that a fire
truc4 could pass throu.h it. Be esti/ated the houses in the area to )e around ;'' to A''. 0e/)revilla also stated that
Da/a*an Street is the onl* road in the area.16
(inall*, Bonifacio 2aceda, =r., 0a3 2apper I$, testified that, accordin. to their records, =I8CS(I )eca/e the owner of the
propert* onl* on =anuar* +;, +&&A.17
0he plaintiff offered in evidence a photocop* of the letter of En.r. =ose Re*es addressed to 8oren9o Chin. Cuanco to prove
that the plaintiff /ade a definite and valid offer to ac7uire the propert* to the co"owners. Bowever, the R0C re5ected the
sa/e letter for )ein. a /ere photocop*.18
(or the defendant"intervenor, Nor/ita del Rosario, owner of the propert* located across the su)5ect propert*, testified that
there are other roads leadin. to E. R. Santos Street. She asserted that onl* a)out ten houses of the ur)an poor are usin. the
new road )ecause the other residents are usin. an alternative ri.ht"of"wa*. She averred that she did not actuall* occup* her
propert*? )ut there were ti/es that she visited it.19
Danilo Ca)allero averred that he had )een a resident of Sto. 0o/as Bu4id for seven *ears. (ro/ his house, he could use
three streets to .o to E. R. Santos Street, na/el*, Catalina Street, Da/a*an Street and Ba.on. 0aon Street. On cross"
e3a/ination, he ad/itted that no vehicle could enter Sto. 0o/as Bu4id e3cept throu.h the newl* constructed Da/a*an
Street.20
Eduardo $illanueva, Chair/an of the Board of 0rustees and President of =I8CS(I, testified that the parcel of land was
purchased for purposes of constructin. a school )uildin. and a church as worship center. Be averred that the reali9ation of
these pro5ects was dela*ed due to the passin. of the ordinance for e3propriation.21
0he intervenor adduced docu/entar* evidence that on (e)ruar* -6, +&&;, 8oren9o Chin. Cuanco and the co"owners a.reed
to sell their propert* covered )* 0C0 No. P0"11%,% for P+,6+&,'''.''.22 It paid a down pa*/ent ofP+,''','''.'' for the
propert*. After pa*/ent of the total purchase price, the Chin. Cuancos e3ecuted a Deed of A)solute Sale23 over the
propert* on Dece/)er +;, +&&;. On Dece/)er -+, +&&;, 0C0 No. P0"&-%6& was issued in the na/e of =I8CS(I. 24 It
declared the propert* for ta3ation purposes under its na/e.25
On Septe/)er ;, +&&6, the R0C issued an Order in favor of the plaintiff, the dispositive portion of which readsC
@BERE(ORE, in view of the fore.oin. and in accordance with Section A, Rule 16 of the Revised Rules of Court, the Court
Resolves to DEC8ARE the plaintiff as havin. a lawful ri.ht to ta4e the propert* in 7uestion for purposes for which the
sa/e is e3propriated.
0he plaintiff and intervenor are here)* directed to su)/it at least two -! na/es of their reco//ended co//issioners for
the deter/ination of 5ust co/pensation within ten +'! da*s fro/ receipt hereof.
SO ORDERED.26
0he R0C held that, as .leaned fro/ the declaration in Ordinance No. -+, there was su)stantial co/pliance with the definite
and valid offer re7uire/ent of Section +& of R.A. No. 6+1', and that the e3propriated portion is the /ost convenient access
to the interior of Sto. 0o/as Bu4id.
Dissatisfied, =I8CS(I elevated the case to the CA on the followin. assi.n/ent of errorsC
(irst Assi.n/ent of Error
0BE 8O@ER CODR0 SERIODSE8FG ERRED @BEN I0 RD8ED 0BA0 P8AIN0I(("APPE88EE SDBS0AN0IA88F
CO2P8IED @I0B 0BE 8A@ @BEN I0 EHPROPRIA0ED =I8<S PROPER0F 0O BE DSED AS A RI#B0 O( @AF.
Second Assi.n/ent of Error
0BE 8O@ER CODR0 ERRED IN DISRE#ARDIN# =I8<S E$IDENCE PRO$IN# 0BA0 0BERE @AS NO PDB8IC
NECESSI0F 0O @ARRAN0 0BE EHPROPRIA0ION O( 0BE SDB=EC0 PROPER0F.27
0he Court of Appeals< Decision
In a Decision dated 2arch +;, -''+, the CA affir/ed the order of the R0C.28 0he CA a.reed with the trial court that the
plaintiff su)stantiall* co/plied with Section +& of R.A. No. 6+1', particularl* the re7uire/ent that a valid and definite offer
/ust )e /ade to the owner. 0he CA declared that the letter of En.r. Re*es, invitin. 8oren9o Chin. Cuanco to a conference
to discuss with hi/ the road pro5ect and the price of the lot, was a su)stantial co/pliance with the Ivalid and definite offerI
re7uire/ent under said Section +&. In addition, the CA noted that there was also constructive notice to the defendants of the
e3propriation proceedin.s since a notice of lis pendens was annotated at the dorsal portion of 0C0 No. P0"&-%6& on
Nove/)er -1, +&&;.29
(inall*, the CA upheld the pu)lic necessit* for the su)5ect propert* )ased on the findin.s of the trial court that the portion of
the propert* sou.ht to )e e3propriated appears to )e, not onl* the /ost convenient access to the interior of Sto. 0o/as
Bu4id, )ut also an eas* path for vehicles enterin. the area, particularl* fire truc4s. 2oreover, the CA too4 into consideration
the provision of Article ;; of the Rules and Re.ulations I/ple/entin. the 8ocal #overn/ent Code, which re.ards the
Iconstruction or e3tension of roads, streets, sidewal4sI as pu)lic use, purpose or welfare.30
On April 1, -''+, =I8CS(I filed a /otion for reconsideration of the said decision alle.in. that the CA erred in rel*in. on the
photocop* of En.r. Re*es< letter to 8oren9o Chin. Cuanco )ecause the sa/e was not ad/itted in evidence )* the trial court
for )ein. a /ere photocop*. It also contended that the CA erred in concludin. that constructive notice of the e3propriation
proceedin., in the for/ of annotation of the notice of lis pendens, could )e considered as a su)stantial co/pliance with the
re7uire/ent under Section +& of the 8ocal #overn/ent Code for a valid and definite offer. =I8CS(I also averred that no
inspection was ever ordered )* the trial court to )e conducted on the propert*, and, if there was one, it had the ri.ht to )e
present thereat since an inspection is considered to )e part of the trial of the case.31
0he CA denied the /otion for reconsideration for lac4 of /erit. It held that it was not precluded fro/ considerin. the
photocop*32 of the letter, notwithstandin. that the sa/e was e3cluded )* the trial court, since the fact of its e3istence was
dul* esta)lished )* corro)orative evidence. 0his corro)orative evidence consisted of the testi/on* of the plaintiff<s
/essen.er that he personall* served the letter to 8oren9o Chin. Cuanco, and 2unicipal Ordinance No. -+ which e3pressl*
stated that the propert* owners were alread* notified of the e3propriation proceedin.. 0he CA noted that =I8CS(I failed to
adduce controvertin. evidence, thus the presu/ption of re.ularit* was not overco/e.33
0he Present Petition
In this petition, petitioner =I8CS(I raises the followin. issuesC +! whether the respondent co/plied with the re7uire/ent,
under Section +& of the 8ocal #overn/ent Code, of a valid and definite offer to ac7uire the propert* prior to the filin. of
the co/plaint? -! whether its propert* which is alread* intended to )e used for pu)lic purposes /a* still )e e3propriated )*
the respondent? and ;! whether the re7uisites for an ease/ent for ri.ht"of"wa* under Articles 1A& to 1%6 of the New Civil
Code /a* )e dispensed with.
0he petitioner stresses that the law e3plicitl* re7uires that a valid and definite offer )e /ade to the owner of the propert*
and that such offer was not accepted. It ar.ues that, in this case, there was no evidence to show that such offer has )een
/ade either to the previous owner or the petitioner, the present owner. 0he petitioner contends that the photocop* of the
letter of En.r. Re*es, notif*in. 8oren9o Chin. Cuanco of the respondent<s intention to construct a road on its propert*,
cannot )e considered )ecause the trial court did not ad/it it in evidence. And assu/in. that such letter is ad/issi)le in
evidence, it would not prove that the offer has )een /ade to the previous owner )ecause /ere notice of intent to purchase is
not e7uivalent to an offer to purchase. 0he petitioner further ar.ues that the offer should )e /ade to the proper part*, that is,
to the owner of the propert*. It noted that the records in this case show that as of (e)ruar* +&&;, it was alread* the owner of
the propert*. Assu/in., therefore, that there was an offer to purchase the propert*, the sa/e should have )een addressed to
the petitioner, as present owner.34
0he petitioner /aintains that the power of e/inent do/ain /ust )e strictl* construed since its e3ercise is necessaril* in
dero.ation of the ri.ht to propert* ownership. All the re7uire/ents of the ena)lin. law /ust, therefore, )e strictl* co/plied
with. Co/pliance with such re7uire/ents cannot )e presu/ed )ut /ust )e proved )* the local .overn/ent e3ercisin. the
power. 0he petitioner adds that the local .overn/ent should, li4ewise, co/pl* with the re7uire/ents for an ease/ent of
ri.ht"of"wa*? hence, the road /ust )e esta)lished at a point least pre5udicial to the owner of the propert*. (inall*, the
petitioner ar.ues that, if the propert* is alread* devoted to or intended to )e devoted to another pu)lic use, its e3propriation
should not )e allowed.35
(or its part, the respondent avers that the CA alread* s7uarel* resolved the issues raised in this petition, and the petitioner
failed to show valid and co/pellin. reason to reverse the CA<s findin.s. 2oreover, it is not the function of the Supre/e
Court to wei.h the evidence on factual issues all over a.ain.36 0he respondent contends that the Chin. Cuancos were
dee/ed to have ad/itted that an offer to purchase has )een /ade and that the* refused to accept such offer considerin. their
failure to specificall* den* such alle.ation in the co/plaint. In li.ht of such ad/ission, the e3clusion of the photocop* of
the letter of En.r. Re*es, therefore, is no lon.er si.nificant.37
0he Rulin. of the Court
0he petition is /eritorious.
At the outset, it /ust )e stressed that onl* 7uestions of law /a* )e raised )* the parties and passed upon )* the Supre/e
Court in petitions for review on certiorari.38 (indin.s of fact of the CA, affir/in. those of the trial court, are final and
conclusive and /a* not )e reviewed on appeal.39
Nonetheless, where it is shown that the conclusion is a findin. .rounded on speculations, sur/ises or con5ectures or where
the 5ud./ent is )ased on /isapprehension of facts, the Supre/e Court /a* ree3a/ine the evidence on record.40
Eminent Domain: Nature and Scope
0he ri.ht of e/inent do/ain is usuall* understood to )e an ulti/ate ri.ht of the soverei.n power to appropriate an*
propert* within its territorial soverei.nt* for a pu)lic purpose. 0he nature and scope of such power has )een
co/prehensivel* descri)ed as followsC
J It is an indispensa)le attri)ute of soverei.nt*? a power .rounded in the pri/ar* dut* of .overn/ent to serve the
co//on need and advance the .eneral welfare. 0hus, the ri.ht of e/inent do/ain appertains to ever* independent
.overn/ent without the necessit* for constitutional reco.nition. 0he provisions found in /odern constitutions of civili9ed
countries relatin. to the ta4in. of propert* for the pu)lic use do not )* i/plication .rant the power to the .overn/ent, )ut
li/it the power which would, otherwise, )e without li/it. 0hus, our own Constitution provides that IEpGrivate propert* shall
not )e ta4en for pu)lic use without 5ust co/pensation.I (urther/ore, the due process and e7ual protection clauses act as
additional safe.uards a.ainst the ar)itrar* e3ercise of this .overn/ental power.41
Strict Construction and Burden of Proof
0he e3ercise of the ri.ht of e/inent do/ain, whether directl* )* the State or )* its authori9ed a.ents, is necessaril* in
dero.ation of private ri.hts.42 It is one of the harshest proceedin.s 4nown to the law. Conse7uentl*, when the soverei.n
dele.ates the power to a political unit or a.enc*, a strict construction will )e .iven a.ainst the a.enc* assertin. the
power.43 0he authorit* to conde/n is to )e strictl* construed in favor of the owner and a.ainst the conde/nor. 44 @hen the
power is .ranted, the e3tent to which it /a* )e e3ercised is li/ited to the e3press ter/s or clear i/plication of the statute in
which the .rant is contained.45
Corollaril*, the respondent, which is the conde/nor, has the )urden of provin. all the essentials necessar* to show the ri.ht
of conde/nation.46 It has the )urden of proof to esta)lish that it has co/plied with all the re7uire/ents provided )* law for
the valid e3ercise of the power of e/inent do/ain.
0he .rant of the power of e/inent do/ain to local .overn/ent units is .rounded on Section +& of R.A. No. 6+1' which
readsC
SEC. +&. Eminent Domain. K A local .overn/ent unit /a*, throu.h its chief e3ecutive and actin. pursuant to an ordinance,
e3ercise the power of e/inent do/ain for pu)lic use, or purpose, or welfare for the )enefit of the poor and the landless,
upon pa*/ent of 5ust co/pensation, pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution and pertinent laws? Provided, however,
0hat the power of e/inent do/ain /a* not )e e3ercised unless a valid and definite offer has )een previousl* /ade to the
owner, and such offer was not acceptedC Provided, further, 0hat the local .overn/ent unit /a* i//ediatel* ta4e possession
of the propert* upon the filin. of the e3propriation proceedin.s and upon /a4in. a deposit with the proper court of at least
fifteen percent +%>! of the fair /ar4et value of the propert* )ased on the current ta3 declaration of the propert* to )e
e3propriatedC Provided, finally, 0hat the a/ount to )e paid for the e3propriated propert* shall )e deter/ined )* the proper
court )ased on the fair /ar4et value at the ti/e of the ta4in. of the propert*.
0he Court declared that the followin. re7uisites for the valid e3ercise of the power of e/inent do/ain )* a local
.overn/ent unit /ust )e co/plied withC
+. An ordinance is enacted )* the local le.islative council authori9in. the local chief e3ecutive, in )ehalf of the local
.overn/ent unit, to e3ercise the power of e/inent do/ain or pursue e3propriation proceedin.s over a particular private
propert*.
-. 0he power of e/inent do/ain is e3ercised for pu)lic use, purpose or welfare, or for the )enefit of the poor and the
landless.
;. 0here is pa*/ent of 5ust co/pensation, as re7uired under Section &, Article III of the Constitution, and other pertinent
laws.
A. A valid and definite offer has )een previousl* /ade to the owner of the propert* sou.ht to )e e3propriated, )ut said offer
was not accepted.47
Valid and Definite ffer
Article ;% of the Rules and Re.ulations I/ple/entin. the 8ocal #overn/ent Code providesC
AR0IC8E ;%. ffer to Buy and Contract of Sale! K a! 0he offer to )u* private propert* for pu)lic use or purpose shall )e in
writin.. It shall specif* the propert* sou.ht to )e ac7uired, the reasons for its ac7uisition, and the price offered.
)! If the owner or owners accept the offer in its entiret*, a contract of sale shall )e e3ecuted and pa*/ent forthwith /ade.
c! If the owner or owners are willin. to sell their propert* )ut at a price hi.her than that offered to the/, the local chief
e3ecutive shall call the/ to a conference for the purpose of reachin. an a.ree/ent on the sellin. price. 0he chair/an of the
appropriation or finance co//ittee of the sanggunian, or in his a)sence, an* /e/)er of thesanggunian dul* chosen as its
representative, shall participate in the conference. @hen an a.ree/ent is reached )* the parties, a contract of sale shall )e
drawn and e3ecuted.
d! 0he contract of sale shall )e supported )* the followin. docu/entsC
+! Resolution of the sanggunian authori9in. the local chief e3ecutive to enter into a contract of sale. 0he resolution shall
specif* the ter/s and conditions to )e e/)odied in the contract?
-! Ordinance appropriatin. the a/ount specified in the contract? and
;! Certification of the local treasurer as to availa)ilit* of funds to.ether with a state/ent that such fund shall not )e
dis)ursed or spent for an* purpose other than to pa* for the purchase of the propert* involved.
0he respondent was )urdened to prove the /andator* re7uire/ent of a valid and definite offer to the owner of the propert*
)efore filin. its co/plaint and the re5ection thereof )* the latter.48 It is incu/)ent upon the conde/nor to e3haust all
reasona)le efforts to o)tain the land it desires )* a.ree/ent.49 (ailure to prove co/pliance with the /andator* re7uire/ent
will result in the dis/issal of the co/plaint.50
An offer is a unilateral proposition which one part* /a4es to the other for the cele)ration of a contract. 51 It creates a power
of acceptance per/ittin. the offeree, )* acceptin. the offer, to transfor/ the offeror<s pro/ise into a contractual
o)li.ation.52 Corollaril*, the offer /ust )e co/plete, indicatin. with sufficient clearness the 4ind of contract intended and
definitel* statin. the essential conditions of the proposed contract.53 An offer would re7uire, a/on. other thin.s, a clear
certaint* on )oth the o)5ect and the cause or consideration of the envisioned contract.54
0he purpose of the re7uire/ent of a valid and definite offer to )e first /ade to the owner is to encoura.e settle/ents and
voluntar* ac7uisition of propert* needed for pu)lic purposes in order to avoid the e3pense and dela* of a court
action.55 0he law is desi.ned to .ive to the owner the opportunit* to sell his land without the e3pense and inconvenience of
a protracted and e3pensive liti.ation. 0his is a su)stantial ri.ht which should )e protected in ever* instance. 56 It encoura.es
ac7uisition without liti.ation and spares not onl* the landowner )ut also the conde/nor, the e3penses and dela*s of
liti.ation. It per/its the landowner to receive full co/pensation, and the entit* ac7uirin. the propert*, i//ediate use and
en5o*/ent of the propert*. A reasona)le offer in .ood faith, not /erel* perfunctor* or pro forma offer, to ac7uire the
propert* for a reasona)le price /ust )e /ade to the owner or his priv*.57 A sin.le "ona fide offer that is re5ected )* the
owner will suffice.
0he e3propriatin. authorit* is )urdened to /a4e 4nown its definite and valid offer to all the owners of the propert*.
Bowever, it has a ri.ht to rel* on what appears in the certificate of title coverin. the land to )e e3propriated. Bence, it is
re7uired to /a4e its offer onl* to the re.istered owners of the propert*. After all, it is well"settled that persons dealin. with
propert* covered )* a 0orrens certificate of title are not re7uired to .o )e*ond what appears on its face.58
In the present case, the respondent failed to prove that )efore it filed its co/plaint, it /ade a written definite and valid offer
to ac7uire the propert* for pu)lic use as an access road. 0he onl* evidence adduced )* the respondent to prove its
co/pliance with Section +& of the 8ocal #overn/ent Code is the photocop* of the letter purportedl* )earin. the si.nature
of En.r. =ose Re*es, to onl* one of the co"owners, 8oren9o Chin. Cuanco. 0he letter readsC
2R. 8ORENLO CBIN# CDANCO
+, Alcalde =ose Street
Capasi.an, Pasi.
2etro 2anila
Dear 2r. CuancoC
0his refers to *our parcel of land located alon. E. Santos Street, Baran.a* Palatiw, Pasi., 2etro 2anila e/)raced in and
covered )* 0C0 No. 11%,%, a portion of which with an area of fift*"one %+! s7uare /eters is needed )* the 2unicipal
#overn/ent of Pasi. for conversion into a road"ri.ht of wa* for the )enefit of several residents livin. in the vicinit* of *our
propert*. Attached herewith is the s4etch plan for *our infor/ation.
In this connection, /a* we respectfull* re7uest *our presence in our office to discuss this pro5ect and the price that /a* )e
/utuall* a.reed upon )* *ou and the 2unicipalit* of Pasi..
0han4 *ou.
$er* trul* *ours,
S.d.!
EN#R. =OSE 8. REFES
0echnical Asst. to the 2a*or
on Infrastructure59
It )ears stressin., however, that the respondent offered the letter onl* to prove its desire or intent to ac7uire the propert* for
a ri.ht"of"wa*.60 0he docu/ent was not offered to prove that the respondent /ade a definite and valid offer to ac7uire the
propert*. 2oreover, the R0C re5ected the docu/ent )ecause the respondent failed to adduce in evidence the ori.inal cop*
thereof.61 0he respondent, li4ewise, failed to adduce evidence that copies of the letter were sent to and received )* all the
co"owners of the propert*, na/el*, 8oren9o Chin. Cuanco, $ictor Chin. Cuanco and Ernesto :ho.
0he respondent sou.ht to prove, throu.h the testi/on* of its /essen.er, Rolando 0o.onon, that 8oren9o Chin. Cuanco
received the ori.inal of the said letter. But 0o.onon testified that he /erel* .ave the letter to a lad*, who/ he failed to
identif*. Be stated that the lad* went inside the store of 8oren9o Chin. Cuanco, and later .ave the letter )ac4 to hi/ )earin.
the si.nature purportedl* of one 8u9 Bernarte. Bowever, 0o.onon ad/itted, on cross"e3a/ination, that he did not see
Bernarte affi3in. her si.nature on the letter. 0o.onon also declared that he did not 4now and had never /et 8oren9o Chin.
Cuanco and BernarteC
M And after *ou received this letter fro/ that lad*, what did *ou do afterwardsN
A I )rou.ht it with /e, that letter, and then I went to Caruncho.
M So, E2Gr. @itness, *ou are tellin. this Bonora)le Court that this letter intended to 2r. 8oren9o was served at Pasi.
0radin. which was situated at No. +, Al4alde =ose Street on (e)ruar* -;, +&&;N
A Fes, 2a<a/.
A00F. 0ANC
0hat is all for the witness, Four Bonor.
CODR0C
Do *ou have an* cross"e3a/inationN
A00F. =O8OC
=ust a few cross, Four Bonor, please. @ith the 4ind per/ission of the Bonora)le Court.
CODR0C
Proceed.
CROSS"EHA2INA0ION
BF A00F. =O8OC
M 2r. @itness, do *ou 4now 2r. 8oren9o Chin. ECuancoG
A I do not 4now hi/.
M As a /atter of fact, *ou have not seen hi/ even once, isn<t not sic!N
A Fes, Sir.
M 0his 8u9 Bernarte, do *ou 4now herN
A I do not 4now her.
M As a /atter of fact, *ou did not see 2rs. Bernarte even onceN
A 0hat is correct.
M And as a /atter of fact, E2Gr. @itness, *ou did not see 2rs. 8u9 Bernarte affi3in. her si.nature on the )otto/ portion of
this de/and letter, /ar4ed as E3h. IC"-IN
A Fes, Sir.62
Even if the letter was, indeed, received )* the co"owners, the letter is not a valid and definite offer to purchase a specific
portion of the propert* for a price certain. It is /erel* an invitation for onl* one of the co"owners, 8oren9o Chin. Cuanco,
to a conference to discuss the pro5ect and the price that /a* )e /utuall* accepta)le to )oth parties.
0here is no le.al and factual )asis to the CA<s rulin. that the annotation of a notice of lis pendens at the dorsal portion of
petitioner<s 0C0 No. P0"&-%6& is a su)stantial co/pliance with the re7uisite offer. A notice of lis pendensis a notice to the
whole world of the pendenc* of an action involvin. the title to or possession of real propert* and a warnin. that those who
ac7uire an interest in the propert* do so at their own ris4 and that the* .a/)le on the result of the liti.ation over
it.63 2oreover, the lis pendens was annotated at the dorsal portion of the title onl* on Nove/)er -1, +&&;, lon. after the
co/plaint had )een filed in the R0C a.ainst the Chin. Cuancos.
Neither is the declaration in one of the whereas clauses of the ordinance that Ithe propert* owners were alread* notified )*
the /unicipalit* of the intent to purchase the sa/e for pu)lic use as a /unicipal road,I a su)stantial co/pliance with the
re7uire/ent of a valid and definite offer under Section +& of R.A. No. 6+1'. Presu/a)l*, theSangguniang Bayan relied on
the erroneous pre/ise that the letter of En.r. Re*es reached the co"owners of the propert*. In the a)sence of co/petent
evidence that, indeed, the respondent /ade a definite and valid offer to all the co"owners of the propert*, aside fro/ the
letter of En.r. Re*es, the declaration in the ordinance is not a co/pliance with Section +& of R.A. No. 6+1'.
0he respondent contends, however, that the Chin. Cuancos, i/pliedl* ad/itted the alle.ation in its co/plaint that an offer
to purchase the propert* was /ade to the/ and that the* refused to accept the offer )* their failure to specificall* den* such
alle.ation in their answer. 0his contention is wron.. As .leaned fro/ their answer to the co/plaint, the Chin. Cuancos
specificall* denied such alle.ation for want of sufficient 4nowled.e to for/ a )elief as to its correctness. Dnder Section
+',64 Rule , of the Rules of Court, such for/ of denial, althou.h not specific, is sufficient.
Pu"lic Necessity
@e re5ect the contention of the petitioner that its propert* can no lon.er )e e3propriated )* the respondent )ecause it is
intended for the construction of a place for reli.ious worship and a school for its /e/)ers. As aptl* e3plained )* this Court
in Manosca v. Court of Appeals,65 thusC
It has )een e3plained as earl* as SeOa v. 2anila Railroad Co., thatC
J A historical research discloses the /eanin. of the ter/ Ipu"lic use# to )e one of constant .rowth. As societ* advances,
its de/ands upon the individual increases and each de/and is a new use to which the resources of the individual /a* )e
devoted. J for Iwhatever is "eneficially employed for the community is a pu"lic use!#
Chief =ustice Enri7ue 2. (ernando statesC
0he ta4in. to )e valid /ust )e for pu)lic use. 0here was a ti/e when it was felt that a literal /eanin. should )e attached to
such a re7uire/ent. @hatever pro5ect is underta4en /ust )e for the pu)lic to en5o*, as in the case of streets or par4s.
Otherwise, e3propriation is not allowa)le. It is not so an* /ore. As lon. as the purpose of the ta4in. is pu)lic, then the
power of e/inent do/ain co/es into pla*. As 5ust noted, the constitution in at least two cases, to re/ove an* dou)t,
deter/ines what is pu)lic use. One is the e3propriation of lands to )e su)divided into s/all lots for resale at cost to
individuals. 0he other is the transfer, throu.h the e3ercise of this power, of utilities and other private enterprise to the
.overn/ent. It is accurate to state then that at present whatever /a* )e )eneficiall* e/plo*ed for the .eneral welfare
satisfies the re7uire/ents of pu)lic use.
Chief =ustice (ernando, writin. the ponencia in =.2. 0uason P Co. vs. 8and 0enure Ad/inistration, has viewed the
Constitution a d*na/ic instru/ent and one that Iis not to "e construed narrowly or pedantically so as to ena)le it to meet
ade$uately whatever pro"lems the future has in store!# (r. =oa7uin Bernas, a noted constitutionalist hi/self, has aptl*
o)served that what, in fact, has ulti/atel* e/er.ed is a concept of pu)lic use which is 5ust as )road as Ipu"lic welfare!#
Petitioners as4C But Iw!hat is the so"called unusual interest that the e3propriation of (eli3 2analo<s! )irthplace )eco/e so
vital as to )e a pu)lic use appropriate for the e3ercise of the power of e/inent do/ainI when onl* /e/)ers of the %glesia ni
Cristo would )enefitN 0his atte/pt to .ive so/e reli.ious perspective to the case deserves little consideration, for what
should )e si.nificant is the principal o)5ective of, not the casual conse7uences that /i.ht follow fro/, the e3ercise of the
power. 0he purpose in settin. up the /ar4er is essentiall* to reco.ni9e the distinctive contri)ution of the late (eli3 2analo
to the culture of the Philippines, rather than to co//e/orate his foundin. and leadership of the %glesia ni Cristo! 0he
practical realit* that .reater )enefit /a* )e derived )* /e/)ers of the %glesia ni Cristo than )* /ost others could well )e
true )ut such a peculiar advanta.e still re/ains to )e /erel* incidental and secondar* in nature. Indeed, that onl* a few
would actuall* )enefit fro/ the e3propriation of propert*, does not necessaril* di/inish the essence and character of pu)lic
use.
0he petitioner asserts that the respondent /ust co/pl* with the re7uire/ents for the esta)lish/ent of an ease/ent of ri.ht"
of"wa*, /ore specificall*, the road /ust )e constructed at the point least pre5udicial to the servient state, and that there /ust
)e no ade7uate outlet to a pu)lic hi.hwa*. 0he petitioner asserts that the portion of the lot sou.ht to )e e3propriated is
located at the /iddle portion of the petitioner<s entire parcel of land, there)* splittin. the lot into two halves, and /a4in. it
i/possi)le for the petitioner to put up its school )uildin. and worship center.
0he su)5ect propert* is e3propriated for the purpose of constructin. a road. 0he respondent is not /andated to co/pl* with
the essential re7uisites for an ease/ent of ri.ht"of"wa* under the New Civil Code. Case law has it that in the a)sence of
le.islative restriction, the .rantee of the power of e/inent do/ain /a* deter/ine the location and route of the land to )e
ta4en66 unless such deter/ination is capricious and wantonl* in5urious.67 E3propriation is 5ustified so lon. as it is for the
pu)lic .ood and there is .enuine necessit* of pu)lic character.68 #overn/ent /a* not capriciousl* choose what private
propert* should )e ta4en.69
0he respondent has de/onstrated the necessit* for constructin. a road fro/ E. R. Santos Street to Sto. 0o/as Bu4id. 0he
witnesses, who were residents of Sto. 0o/as Bu4id, testified that althou.h there were other wa*s throu.h which one can
enter the vicinit*, no vehicle, however, especiall* fire truc4s, could enter the area e3cept throu.h the newl* constructed
Da/a*an Street. 0his is /ore than sufficient to esta)lish that there is a .enuine necessit* for the construction of a road in
the area. After all, a)solute necessit* is not re7uired, onl* reasona)le and practical necessit* will suffice.70
Nonetheless, the respondent failed to show the necessit* for constructin. the road particularl* in the petitioner<s propert*
and not elsewhere.71 @e note that the whereas clause of the ordinance states that the %+"s7uare /eter lot is the shortest and
/ost suita)le access road to connect Sto. 0o/as Bu4id to E. R. Santos Street. 0he respondent<s co/plaint also alle.ed that
the said portion of the petitioner<s lot has )een surve*ed as the )est possi)le in.ress and e.ress. Bowever, the respondent
failed to adduce a preponderance of evidence to prove its clai/s.
On this point, the trial court /ade the followin. findin.sC
J 0he contention of the defendants that there is an e3istin. alle* that can serve the purpose of the e3propriator is not
accurate. An inspection of the vicinit* reveals that the alle* )ein. referred to )* the defendants actuall* passes thru Ba.on.
0aon St. )ut onl* a)out one"half +Q-! of its entire len.th is passa)le )* vehicle and the other half is /erel* a foot"path. It
would )e /ore inconvenient to widen the alle* considerin. that its sides are occupied )* per/anent structures and its len.th
fro/ the /unicipal road to the area sou.ht to )e served )* the e3propriation is considera)l* lon.er than the proposed access
road. 0he area to )e served )* the access road is co/posed of co/pact wooden houses and literall* a slu/ area. As a result
of the e3propriation of the %+"s7uare /eter portion of the propert* of the intervenor, a ;"/eter wide road open to the pu)lic
is created. 0his portion of the propert* of the intervenor is the /ost convenient access to the interior of Sto. 0o/as Bu4id
since it is not onl* a short cut to the interior of the Sto. 0o/as Bu4id )ut also an eas* path for vehicles enterin. the area, not
to /ention the ;"/eter wide road re7uire/ent of the (ire Code.72
Bowever, as correctl* pointed out )* the petitioner, there is no showin. in the record that an ocular inspection was
conducted durin. the trial. If, at all, the trial court conducted an ocular inspection of the su)5ect propert* durin. the trial, the
petitioner was not notified thereof. 0he petitioner was, therefore, deprived of its ri.ht to due process. It )ears stressin. that
an ocular inspection is part of the trial as evidence is there)* received and the parties are entitled to )e present at an* sta.e
of the trial.73 Conse7uentl*, where, as in this case, the petitioner was not notified of an* ocular inspection of the propert*,
an* factual findin. of the court )ased on the said inspection has no pro)ative wei.ht. 0he findin.s of the trial court )ased on
the conduct of the ocular inspection /ust, therefore, )e re5ected.
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is #RAN0ED. 0he Decision and Resolution of the Court of
Appeals are RE$ERSED AND SE0 ASIDE. 0he R0C is ordered to dis/iss the co/plaint of the respondent without
pre5udice to the refilin. thereof.
SO ORDERED.