Sie sind auf Seite 1von 31

Consti 2 Art III Sec IX Cases

THE CITY OF MANILA, plaintiff-appellant, vs. CHINESE COMMUNITY OF MANILA, ET AL.,


defendants-appellees
From that judgment the plaintiff appealed and presented the above question as its principal ground of
The important question presented by this appeal is: In expropriation proceedings by the city of Manila, appeal.
may the courts inquire into, and hear proof upon, the necessity of the expropriation?
The theory of the plaintiff is, that once it has established the fact, under the law, that it has authority to
That question arose in the following manner: expropriate land, it may expropriate any land it may desire; that the only function of the court in such
proceedings is to ascertain the value of the land in question; that neither the court nor the owners of
On the 11th day of December, 1916, the city of Manila presented a petition in the Court of First the land can inquire into the advisible purpose of purpose of the expropriation or ask any questions
Instance of said city, praying that certain lands, therein particularly described, be expropriated for the concerning the necessities therefor; that the courts are mere appraisers of the land involved in
purpose of constructing a public improvement. The petitioner, in the second paragraph of the petition, expropriation proceedings, and, when the value of the land is fixed by the method adopted by the law,
alleged: to render a judgment in favor of the defendant for its value.

That for the purpose of constructing a public improvement, namely, the extension of Rizal Avenue, That the city of Manila has authority to expropriate private lands for public purposes, is not denied.
Manila, it is necessary for the plaintiff to acquire ownership in fee simple of certain parcels of land Section 2429 of Act No. 2711 (Charter of the city of Manila) provides that "the city (Manila) . . . may
situated in the district of Binondo of said city within Block 83 of said district, and within the jurisdiction condemn private property for public use."
of this court.
The Charter of the city of Manila contains no procedure by which the said authority may be carried into
The defendant, the Comunidad de Chinos de Manila [Chinese Community of Manila], answering the effect. We are driven, therefore, to the procedure marked out by Act No. 190 to ascertain how the said
petition of the plaintiff, alleged that it was a corporation organized and existing under and by virtue of authority may be exercised. From an examination of Act No. 190, in its section 241, we find how the
the laws of the Philippine Islands, having for its purpose the benefit and general welfare of the Chinese right of eminent domain may be exercised. Said section 241 provides that, "The Government of the
Community of the City of Manila; that it was the owner of parcels one and two of the land described in Philippine Islands, or of any province or department thereof, or of any municipality, and any person, or
paragraph 2 of the complaint; that it denied that it was either necessary or expedient that the said public or private corporation having, by law, the right to condemn private property for public use, shall
parcels be expropriated for street purposes; that existing street and roads furnished ample means of exercise that right in the manner hereinafter prescribed."
communication for the public in the district covered by such proposed expropriation; that if the
construction of the street or road should be considered a public necessity, other routes were available, Section 242 provides that a complaint in expropriation proceeding shall be presented; that the
which would fully satisfy the plaintiff's purposes, at much less expense and without disturbing the complaint shall state with certainty the right of condemnation, with a description of the property
resting places of the dead; that it had a Torrens title for the lands in question; that the lands in question sought to be condemned together with the interest of each defendant separately.
had been used by the defendant for cemetery purposes; that a great number of Chinese were buried in
said cemetery; that if said expropriation be carried into effect, it would disturb the resting places of the Section 243 provides that if the court shall find upon trial that the right to expropriate the land in
dead, would require the expenditure of a large sum of money in the transfer or removal of the bodies to question exists, it shall then appoint commissioners.
some other place or site and in the purchase of such new sites, would involve the destruction of
existing monuments and the erection of new monuments in their stead, and would create irreparable Sections 244, 245 and 246 provide the method of procedure and duty of the commissioners. Section
loss and injury to the defendant and to all those persons owning and interested in the graves and 248 provides for an appeal from the judgment of the Court of First Instance to the Supreme Court. Said
monuments which would have to be destroyed; that the plaintiff was without right or authority to section 248 gives the Supreme Court authority to inquire into the right of expropriation on the part of
expropriate said cemetery or any part or portion thereof for street purposes; and that the the plaintiff. If the Supreme Court on appeal shall determine that no right of expropriation existed, it
expropriation, in fact, was not necessary as a public improvement. shall remand the cause to the Court of First Instance with a mandate that the defendant be replaced in
the possession of the property and that he recover whatever damages he may have sustained by
The defendant Ildefonso Tambunting, answering the petition, denied each and every allegation of the reason of the possession of the plaintiff.
complaint, and alleged that said expropriation was not a public improvement; that it was not necessary
for the plaintiff to acquire the parcels of land in question; that a portion of the lands in question was It is contended on the part of the plaintiff that the phrase in said section, "and if the court shall find the
used as a cemetery in which were the graves of his ancestors; that monuments and tombstones of right to expropriate exists," means simply that, if the court finds that there is some law authorizing the
great value were found thereon; that the land had become quasi-public property of a benevolent plaintiff to expropriate, then the courts have no other function than to authorize the expropriation and
association, dedicated and used for the burial of the dead and that many dead were buried there; that to proceed to ascertain the value of the land involved; that the necessity for the expropriation is a
if the plaintiff deemed it necessary to extend Rizal Avenue, he had offered and still offers to grant a legislative and not a judicial question.
right of way for the said extension over other land, without cost to the plaintiff, in order that the
sepulchers, chapels and graves of his ancestors may not be disturbed; that the land so offered, free of Upon the question whether expropriation is a legislative function exclusively, and that the courts
charge, would answer every public necessity on the part of the plaintiff. cannot intervene except for the purpose of determining the value of the land in question, there is much
legal legislature. Much has been written upon both sides of that question. A careful examination of the
The defendant Feliza Concepcion de Delgado, with her husband, Jose Maria Delgado, and each of the discussions pro and con will disclose the fact that the decisions depend largely upon particular
other defendants, answering separately, presented substantially the same defense as that presented constitutional or statutory provisions. It cannot be denied, if the legislature under proper authority
by the Comunidad de Chinos de Manila and Ildefonso Tambunting above referred to. should grant the expropriation of a certain or particular parcel of land for some specified public
purpose, that the courts would be without jurisdiction to inquire into the purpose of that legislation.
The foregoing parts of the defense presented by the defendants have been inserted in order to show
the general character of the defenses presented by each of the defendants. The plaintiff alleged that If, upon the other hand, however, the Legislature should grant general authority to a municipal
the expropriation was necessary. The defendants each alleged (a) that no necessity existed for said corporation to expropriate private land for public purposes, we think the courts have ample authority in
expropriation and (b) that the land in question was a cemetery, which had been used as such for many this jurisdiction, under the provisions above quoted, to make inquiry and to hear proof, upon an issue
years, and was covered with sepulchres and monuments, and that the same should not be converted properly presented, concerning whether or not the lands were private and whether the purpose was, in
into a street for public purposes. fact, public. In other words, have no the courts in this jurisdiction the right, inasmuch as the questions
relating to expropriation must be referred to them (sec. 241, Act No. 190) for final decision, to ask
Upon the issue thus presented by the petition and the various answers, the Honorable Simplicio del whether or not the law has been complied with? Suppose in a particular case, it should be denied that
Rosario, judge, in a very elucidated opinion, with very clear and explicit reasons, supported by the property is not private property but public, may not the courts hear proof upon that question? Or,
ambulance of authorities, decided that there was no necessity for the expropriation of the particular suppose the defense is, that the purpose of the expropriation is not public but private, or that there
strip of land in question, and absolved each and all of the defendants from all liability under the exists no public purpose at all, may not the courts make inquiry and hear proof upon that question?
complaint, without any finding as to costs.
The city of Manila is given authority to expropriate private lands for public purposes. Can it be possible
that said authority confers the right to determine for itself that the land is private and that the purpose
is public, and that the people of the city of Manila who pay the taxes for its support, especially those and make inquiry concerning the necessity. But, in the case of Wheeling, etc. R. R. Co. vs. Toledo, Ry,
who are directly affected, may not question one or the other, or both, of these questions? Can it be etc., Co. (72 Ohio St., 368 [106 Am. St. rep., 622, 628]), which was cited in support of the doctrine laid
successfully contended that the phrase used in Act No. 190, "and if the court upon trial shall find that down in section 158 above quoted, the court said:
such right exists," means simply that the court shall examine the statutes simply for the purpose of
ascertaining whether a law exists authorizing the petitioner to exercise the right of eminent domain? But when the statute does not designate the property to be taken nor how may be taken, then the
Or, when the case arrives in the Supreme Court, can it be possible that the phrase, "if the Supreme necessity of taking particular property is a question for the courts. Where the application to condemn
Court shall determine that no right of expropriation exists," that that simply means that the Supreme or appropriate is made directly to the court, the question (of necessity) should be raised and decided in
Court shall also examine the enactments of the legislature for the purpose of determining whether or limene.
not a law exists permitting the plaintiff to expropriate?
The legislative department of the government was rarely undertakes to designate the precise property
We are of the opinion that the power of the court is not limited to that question. The right of which should be taken for public use. It has generally, like in the present case, merely conferred
expropriation is not an inherent power in a municipal corporation, and before it can exercise the right general authority to take land for public use when a necessity exists therefor. We believe that it can be
some law must exist conferring the power upon it. When the courts come to determine the question, confidently asserted that, under such statute, the allegation of the necessity for the appropriation is an
they must only find (a) that a law or authority exists for the exercise of the right of eminent domain, issuable allegation which it is competent for the courts to decide. (Lynch vs. Forbes, 161 Mass., 302 [42
but (b) also that the right or authority is being exercised in accordance with the law. In the present case Am. St. Rep., 402, 407].)
there are two conditions imposed upon the authority conceded to the City of Manila: First, the land
must be private; and, second, the purpose must be public. If the court, upon trial, finds that neither of There is a wide distinction between a legislative declaration that a municipality is given authority to
these conditions exists or that either one of them fails, certainly it cannot be contended that the right is exercise the right of eminent domain, and a decision by the municipality that there exist a necessity for
being exercised in accordance with law. the exercise of that right in a particular case. The first is a declaration simply that there exist reasons
why the right should be conferred upon municipal corporation, while the second is the application of
Whether the purpose for the exercise of the right of eminent domain is public, is a question of fact. the right to a particular case. Certainly, the legislative declaration relating to the advisability of
Whether the land is public, is a question of fact; and, in our opinion, when the legislature conferred granting the power cannot be converted into a declaration that a necessity exists for its exercise in a
upon the courts of the Philippine Islands the right to ascertain upon trial whether the right exists for the particular case, and especially so when, perhaps, the land in question was not within the territorial
exercise of eminent domain, it intended that the courts should inquire into, and hear proof upon, those authority was granted.
questions. Is it possible that the owner of valuable land in this jurisdiction is compelled to stand mute
while his land is being expropriated for a use not public, with the right simply to beg the city of Manila Whether it was wise, advisable, or necessary to confer upon a municipality the power to exercise the
to pay him the value of his land? Does the law in this jurisdiction permit municipalities to expropriate right of eminent domain, is a question with which the courts are not concerned. But when that right or
lands, without question, simply for the purpose of satisfying the aesthetic sense of those who happen authority is exercised for the purpose of depriving citizens of their property, the courts are authorized,
for the time being to be in authority? Expropriation of lands usually calls for public expense. The in this jurisdiction, to make inquiry and to hear proof upon the necessity in the particular case, and not
taxpayers are called upon to pay the costs. Cannot the owners of land question the public use or the the general authority.
public necessity?
Volume 15 of the Cyclopedia of Law and Procedure (Cyc.), page 629, is cited as a further conclusive
As was said above, there is a wide divergence of opinion upon the authority of the court to question the authority upon the question that the necessity for the exercise of the right of eminent domain is a
necessity or advisability of the exercise of the right of eminent domain. The divergence is usually found legislative and not a judicial question. Cyclopedia, at the page stated, says:
to depend upon particular statutory or constitutional provisions.
In the absence of some constitutional or statutory provision to the contrary, the necessity and
It has been contended and many cases are cited in support of that contention, and section 158 of expediency of exercising the right of eminent domain are questions essentially political and not judicial
volume 10 of Ruling Case Law is cited as conclusive that the necessity for taking property under the in their character. The determination of those questions (the necessity and the expediency) belongs to
right of eminent domain is not a judicial question. But those who cited said section evidently the sovereign power; the legislative department is final and conclusive, and the courts have no power
overlooked the section immediately following (sec. 159), which adds: "But it is obvious that if the to review it (the necessity and the expediency) . . . . It (the legislature) may designate the particular
property is taken in the ostensible behalf of a public improvement which it can never by any possibility property to be condemned, and its determination in this respect cannot be reviewed by the courts.
serve, it is being taken for a use not public, and the owner's constitutional rights call for protection by
the courts. While many courts have used sweeping expression in the decisions in which they have The volume of Cyclopedia, above referred to, cites many cases in support of the doctrine quoted. While
disclaimed the power of supervising the power of supervising the selection of the sites of public time has not permitted an examination of all of said citations, many of them have been examined, and
improvements, it may be safely said that the courts of the various states would feel bound to interfere it can be confidently asserted that said cases which are cited in support of the assertion that, "the
to prevent an abuse of the discretion delegated by the legislature, by an attempted appropriation of necessity and expediency of exercising the right of eminent domain are questions essentially political
land in utter disregard of the possible necessity of its use, or when the alleged purpose was a cloak to and not judicial," show clearly and invariably that in each case the legislature itself usually, by a special
some sinister scheme." (Norwich City vs. Johnson, 86 Conn., 151; Bell vs. Mattoon Waterworks, etc. Co., law, designated the particular case in which the right of eminent domain might be exercised by the
245 Ill., 544; Wheeling, etc. R. R. Co. vs. Toledo Ry. etc. Co., 72 Ohio St., 368; State vs. Stewart, 74 Wis., particular municipal corporation or entity within the state. (Eastern R. Co. vs. Boston, etc., R. Co., 11
620.) Mass., 125 [15 Am. Rep., 13]; Brooklyn Park Com'rs vs. Armstrong, 45 N.Y., 234 [6 Am. Rep., 70];
Hairston vs. Danville, etc. Ry. Co., 208 U. S. 598; Cincinnati vs. Louisville, etc. Ry. Co., 223 U. S., 390;
Said section 158 (10 R. C. L., 183) which is cited as conclusive authority in support of the contention of U.S. vs. Chandler-Dunbar Water Power Co., 229 U. S., 53; U.S. vs. Gettysburg, etc. Co., 160 U. S., 668;
the appellant, says: Traction Co. vs. Mining Co., 196 U.S., 239; Sears vs. City of Akron, 246 U.S., 351 [erroneously cited as
242 U.S.].)
The legislature, in providing for the exercise of the power of eminent domain, may directly determine
the necessity for appropriating private property for a particular improvement for public use, and it may In the case of Traction Co. vs. Mining Co. (196 U.S., 239), the Supreme Court of the United States said:
select the exact location of the improvement. In such a case, it is well settled that the utility of the "It is erroneous to suppose that the legislature is beyond the control of the courts in exercising the
proposed improvement, the extent of the public necessity for its construction, the expediency of power of eminent domain, either as to the nature of the use or the necessity to the use of any
constructing it, the suitableness of the location selected and the consequent necessity of taking the particular property. For if the use be not public or no necessity for the taking exists, the legislature
land selected for its site, are all questions exclusively for the legislature to determine, and the courts cannot authorize the taking of private property against the will of the owner, notwithstanding
have no power to interfere, or to substitute their own views for those of the representatives of the compensation may be required."
people.
In the case of School Board of Carolina vs. Saldaa (14 Porto Rico, 339, 356), we find the Supreme
Practically every case cited in support of the above doctrine has been examined, and we are justified in Court of Porto Rico, speaking through Justice MacLeary, quoting approvingly the following, upon the
making the statement that in each case the legislature directly determined the necessity for the question which we are discussing: "It is well settled that although the legislature must necessarily
exercise of the right of eminent domain in the particular case. It is not denied that if the necessity for determine in the first instance whether the use for which they (municipalities, etc.) attempt to exercise
the exercise of the right of eminent domain is presented to the legislative department of the the power is a public one or not, their (municipalities, etc.) determination is not final, but is subject to
government and that department decides that there exists a necessity for the exercise of the right in a correction by the courts, who may undoubtedly declare the statute unconstitutional, if it shall clearly
particular case, that then and in that case, the courts will not go behind the action of the legislature
appear that the use for which it is proposed to authorize the taking of private property is in reality not honored protection of the absolute right of the individual to his property. Neither did said Acts of
public but private." Many cases are cited in support of that doctrine. Congress add anything to the law already existing in the Philippine Islands. The Spaniard fully
recognized the principle and adequately protected the inhabitants of the Philippine Islands against the
Later, in the same decision, we find the Supreme Court of Porto Rico says: "At any rate, the rule is quite encroachment upon the private property of the individual. Article 349 of the Civil Code provides that:
well settled that in the cases under consideration the determination of the necessity of taking a "No one may be deprived of his property unless it be by competent authority, for some purpose of
particular piece or a certain amount of land rests ultimately with the courts." (Spring Valley etc. Co. vs. proven public utility, and after payment of the proper compensation Unless this requisite (proven public
San Mateo, etc. Co., 64 Cal., 123.) . utility and payment) has been complied with, it shall be the duty of the courts to protect the owner of
such property in its possession or to restore its possession to him , as the case may be."
In the case of Board of Water Com'rs., etc. vs. Johnson (86 Conn., 571 [41 L. R. A., N. S., 1024]), the
Supreme Court of Connecticut approvingly quoted the following doctrine from Lewis on Eminent The exercise of the right of eminent domain, whether directly by the State, or by its authorized agents,
Domain (3d ed.), section 599: "In all such cases the necessity of public utility of the proposed work or is necessarily in derogation of private rights, and the rule in that case is that the authority must be
improvement is a judicial question. In all such cases, where the authority is to take property necessary strictly construed. No species of property is held by individuals with greater tenacity, and none is
for the purpose, the necessity of taking particular property for a particular purpose is a judicial one, guarded by the constitution and laws more sedulously, than the right to the freehold of inhabitants.
upon which the owner is entitled to be heard." (Riley vs. Charleston, etc. Co., 71 S. C., 457, 489 [110 When the legislature interferes with that right, and, for greater public purposes, appropriates the land
Am. St. Rep., 579]; Henderson vs. Lexington 132 Ky., 390, 403.) of an individual without his consent, the plain meaning of the law should not be enlarged by doubtly
interpretation. (Bensely vs. Mountainlake Water Co., 13 Cal., 306 and cases cited [73 Am. Dec., 576].)
The taking of private property for any use which is not required by the necessities or convenience of
the inhabitants of the state, is an unreasonable exercise of the right of eminent domain, and beyond The statutory power of taking property from the owner without his consent is one of the most delicate
the power of the legislature to delegate. (Bennett vs. Marion, 106 Iowa, 628, 633; Wilson vs. Pittsburg, exercise of government authority. It is to be watched with jealous scrutiny. Important as the power may
etc. Co., 222 Pa. St., 541, 545; Greasy, etc. Co. vs. Ely, etc. Co., 132 Ky., 692, 697.) be to the government, the inviolable sanctity which all free constitutions attach to the right of property
of the citizens, constrains the strict observance of the substantial provisions of the law which are
In the case of New Central Coal Co. vs. George's etc. Co. (37 Md., 537, 564), the Supreme Court of the prescribed as modes of the exercise of the power, and to protect it from abuse. Not only must the
State of Maryland, discussing the question before us, said: "To justify the exercise of this extreme authority of municipal corporations to take property be expressly conferred and the use for which it is
power (eminent domain) where the legislature has left it to depend upon the necessity that may be taken specified, but the power, with all constitutional limitation and directions for its exercise, must be
found to exist, in order to accomplish the purpose of the incorporation, as in this case, the party strictly pursued. (Dillon on Municipal Corporations [5th Ed.], sec. 1040, and cases cited; Tenorio vs.
claiming the right to the exercise of the power should be required to show at least a reasonable degree Manila Railroad Co., 22 Phil., 411.)
of necessity for its exercise. Any rule less strict than this, with the large and almost indiscriminate
delegation of the right to corporations, would likely lead to oppression and the sacrifice of private right It can scarcely be contended that a municipality would be permitted to take property for some public
to corporate power." use unless some public necessity existed therefor. The right to take private property for public use
originates in the necessity, and the taking must be limited by such necessity. The appellant contends
In the case of Dewey vs. Chicago, etc. Co. (184 Ill., 426, 433), the court said: "Its right to condemn that inasmuch as the legislature has given it general authority to take private property for public use,
property is not a general power of condemnation, but is limited to cases where a necessity for resort to that the legislature has, therefore, settled the question of the necessity in every case and that the
private property is shown to exist. Such necessity must appear upon the face of the petition to courts are closed to the owners of the property upon that question. Can it be imagined, when the
condemn. If the necessary is denied the burden is upon the company (municipality) to establish it." legislature adopted section 2429 of Act No. 2711, that it thereby declared that it was necessary to
(Highland, etc. Co. vs. Strickley, 116 Fed., 852, 856; Kiney vs. Citizens' Water & Light Co., 173 Ind., 252, appropriate the property of Juan de la Cruz, whose property, perhaps, was not within the city limits at
257 ; Bell vs. Mattoon Waterworks, etc. Co., 245 Ill., 544 [137 Am. St. Rep. 338].) the time the law was adopted? The legislature, then, not having declared the necessity, can it be
contemplated that it intended that a municipality should be the sole judge of the necessity in every
It is true that naby decisions may be found asserting that what is a public use is a legislative question, case, and that the courts, in the face of the provision that "if upon trial they shall find that a right
and many other decisions declaring with equal emphasis that it is a judicial question. But, as long as exists," cannot in that trial inquire into and hear proof upon the necessity for the appropriation in a
there is a constitutional or statutory provision denying the right to take land for any use other than a particular case?
public use, it occurs to us that the question whether any particular use is a public one or not is
ultimately, at least, a judicial question. The legislative may, it is true, in effect declare certain uses to The Charter of the city of Manila authorizes the taking of private property for public use. Suppose the
be public, and, under the operation of the well-known rule that a statute will not be declared to be owner of the property denies and successfully proves that the taking of his property serves no public
unconstitutional except in a case free, or comparatively free, from doubt, the courts will certainly use: Would the courts not be justified in inquiring into that question and in finally denying the petition if
sustain the action of the legislature unless it appears that the particular use is clearly not of a public no public purpose was proved? Can it be denied that the courts have a right to inquire into that
nature. The decisions must be understood with this limitation; for, certainly, no court of last resort will question? If the courts can ask questions and decide, upon an issue properly presented, whether the
be willing to declare that any and every purpose which the legislative might happen to designate as a use is public or not, is not that tantamount to permitting the courts to inquire into the necessity of the
public use shall be conclusively held to be so, irrespective of the purpose in question and of its appropriation? If there is no public use, then there is no necessity, and if there is no necessity, it is
manifestly private character Blackstone in his Commentaries on the English Law remarks that, so great difficult to understand how a public use can necessarily exist. If the courts can inquire into the question
is the regard of the law for private property that it will not authorize the least violation of it, even for whether a public use exists or not, then it seems that it must follow that they can examine into the
the public good, unless there exists a very great necessity therefor. question of the necessity.

In the case of Wilkinson vs. Leland (2 Pet. [U.S.], 657), the Supreme Court of the United States said: The very foundation of the right to exercise eminent domain is a genuine necessity, and that necessity
"That government can scarcely be deemed free where the rights of property are left solely defendant must be of a public character. The ascertainment of the necessity must precede or accompany, and not
on the legislative body, without restraint. The fundamental maxims of free government seem to require follow, the taking of the land. (Morrison vs. Indianapolis, etc. Ry. Co., 166 Ind., 511; Stearns vs. Barre,
that the rights of personal liberty and private property should be held sacred. At least no court of 73 Vt., 281; Wheeling, etc. R. R. Co. vs. Toledo, Ry. etc. Co., 72 Ohio St., 368.)
justice in this country would be warranted in assuming that the power to violate and disregard them
a power so repugnant to the common principles of justice and civil liberty lurked in any general grant The general power to exercise the right of eminent domain must not be confused with the right to
of legislature authority, or ought to be implied from any general expression of the people. The people exercise it in a particular case. The power of the legislature to confer, upon municipal corporations and
ought no to be presumed to part with rights so vital to their security and well-being without very strong other entities within the State, general authority to exercise the right of eminent domain cannot be
and direct expression of such intention." (Lewis on Eminent Domain, sec. 603; Lecoul vs. Police Jury 20 questioned by the courts, but that general authority of municipalities or entities must not be confused
La. Ann., 308; Jefferson vs. Jazem, 7 La. Ann., 182.) with the right to exercise it in particular instances. The moment the municipal corporation or entity
attempts to exercise the authority conferred, it must comply with the conditions accompanying the
Blackstone, in his Commentaries on the English Law said that the right to own and possess land a authority. The necessity for conferring the authority upon a municipal corporation to exercise the right
place to live separate and apart from others to retain it as a home for the family in a way not to be of eminent domain is admittedly within the power of the legislature. But whether or not the municipal
molested by others is one of the most sacred rights that men are heirs to. That right has been corporation or entity is exercising the right in a particular case under the conditions imposed by the
written into the organic law of every civilized nation. The Acts of Congress of July 1, 1902, and of general authority, is a question which the courts have the right to inquire into.
August 29, 1916, which provide that "no law shall be enacted in the Philippine Islands which shall
deprive any person of his property without due process of law," are but a restatement of the time-
The conflict in the authorities upon the question whether the necessity for the exercise of the right of In the present case, even granting that a necessity exists for the opening of the street in question, the
eminent domain is purely legislative and not judicial, arises generally in the wisdom and propriety of record contains no proof of the necessity of opening the same through the cemetery. The record shows
the legislature in authorizing the exercise of the right of eminent domain instead of in the question of that adjoining and adjacent lands have been offered to the city free of charge, which will answer every
the right to exercise it in a particular case. (Creston Waterworks Co. vs. McGrath, 89 Iowa, 502.) purpose of the plaintiff.

By the weight of authorities, the courts have the power of restricting the exercise of eminent domain to For all of the foregoing, we are fully persuaded that the judgment of the lower court should be and is
the actual reasonable necessities of the case and for the purposes designated by the law. (Fairchild vs. hereby affirmed, with costs against the appellant. So ordered.
City of St. Paul. 48 Minn., 540.)
Arellano, C.J., Torres, Araullo and Avancea, JJ., concur.
And, moreover, the record does not show conclusively that the plaintiff has definitely decided that their
exists a necessity for the appropriation of the particular land described in the complaint. Exhibits 4, 5,
7, and E clearly indicate that the municipal board believed at one time that other land might be used
for the proposed improvement, thereby avoiding the necessity of distributing the quiet resting place of
the dead.

Aside from insisting that there exists no necessity for the alleged improvements, the defendants further
contend that the street in question should not be opened through the cemetery. One of the defendants REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellant, vs..PHILIPPINE LONG DISTANCE
alleges that said cemetery is public property. If that allegations is true, then, of course, the city of TELEPHONE COMPANY, defendant-appellant.
Manila cannot appropriate it for public use. The city of Manila can only expropriate private property.
REYES, J.B.L., J.:
It is a well known fact that cemeteries may be public or private. The former is a cemetery used by the
general community, or neighborhood, or church, while the latter is used only by a family, or a small Direct appeals, upon a joint record on appeal, by both the plaintiff and the defendant from the
portion of the community or neighborhood. (11 C. J., 50.)
dismissal, after hearing, by the Court of First Instance of Manila, in its Civil Case No. 35805, of their
respective complaint and counterclaims, but making permanent a preliminary mandatory injunction
Where a cemetery is open to public, it is a public use and no part of the ground can be taken for other
public uses under a general authority. And this immunity extends to the unimproved and unoccupied theretofore issued against the defendant on the interconnection of telephone facilities owned and
parts which are held in good faith for future use. (Lewis on Eminent Domain, sec. 434, and cases cited.) operated by said parties.

The cemetery in question seems to have been established under governmental authority. The Spanish The plaintiff, Republic of the Philippines, is a political entity exercising governmental powers through
Governor-General, in an order creating the same, used the following language: its branches and instrumentalities, one of which is the Bureau of Telecommunications. That office was
created on 1 July 1947, under Executive Order No. 94, with the following powers and duties, in addition
The cemetery and general hospital for indigent Chinese having been founded and maintained by the to certain powers and duties formerly vested in the Director of Posts: 1awphil.t
spontaneous and fraternal contribution of their protector, merchants and industrials, benefactors of
mankind, in consideration of their services to the Government of the Islands its internal administration, SEC. 79. The Bureau of Telecommunications shall exercise the following powers and duties:
government and regime must necessarily be adjusted to the taste and traditional practices of those
born and educated in China in order that the sentiments which animated the founders may be (a) To operate and maintain existing wire-telegraph and radio-telegraph offices, stations, and facilities,
perpetually effectuated. and those to be established to restore the pre-war telecommunication service under the Bureau of
Posts, as well as such additional offices or stations as may hereafter be established to provide
It is alleged, and not denied, that the cemetery in question may be used by the general community of
telecommunication service in places requiring such service;
Chinese, which fact, in the general acceptation of the definition of a public cemetery, would make the
cemetery in question public property. If that is true, then, of course, the petition of the plaintiff must be
denied, for the reason that the city of Manila has no authority or right under the law to expropriate (b) To investigate, consolidate, negotiate for, operate and maintain wire-telephone or radio telephone
public property. communication service throughout the Philippines by utilizing such existing facilities in cities, towns,
and provinces as may be found feasible and under such terms and conditions or arrangements with the
But, whether or not the cemetery is public or private property, its appropriation for the uses of a public present owners or operators thereof as may be agreed upon to the satisfaction of all concerned;
street, especially during the lifetime of those specially interested in its maintenance as a cemetery,
should be a question of great concern, and its appropriation should not be made for such purposes until (c) To prescribe, subject to approval by the Department Head, equitable rates of charges for messages
it is fully established that the greatest necessity exists therefor. handled by the system and/or for time calls and other services that may be rendered by said system;

While we do not contend that the dead must not give place to the living, and while it is a matter of (d) To establish and maintain coastal stations to serve ships at sea or aircrafts and, when public interest
public knowledge that in the process of time sepulchres may become the seat of cities and cemeteries so requires, to engage in the international telecommunication service in agreement with other
traversed by streets and daily trod by the feet of millions of men, yet, nevertheless such sacrifices and countries desiring to establish such service with the Republic of the Philippines; and
such uses of the places of the dead should not be made unless and until it is fully established that
there exists an eminent necessity therefor. While cemeteries and sepulchres and the places of the (e) To abide by all existing rules and regulations prescribed by the International Telecommunication
burial of the dead are still within
Convention relative to the accounting, disposition and exchange of messages handled in the
the memory and command of the active care of the living; while they are still devoted to pious uses
international service, and those that may hereafter be promulgated by said convention and adhered to
and sacred regard, it is difficult to believe that even the legislature would adopt a law expressly
providing that such places, under such circumstances, should be violated. by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines. 1

In such an appropriation, what, we may ask, would be the measure of damages at law, for the wounded The defendant, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT for short), is a public service
sensibilities of the living, in having the graves of kindred and loved ones blotted out and desecrated by corporation holding a legislative franchise, Act 3426, as amended by Commonwealth Act 407, to install,
a common highway or street for public travel? The impossibility of measuring the damage and operate and maintain a telephone system throughout the Philippines and to carry on the business of
inadequacy of a remedy at law is too apparent to admit of argument. To disturb the mortal remains of electrical transmission of messages within the Philippines and between the Philippines and the
those endeared to us in life sometimes becomes the sad duty of the living; but, except in cases of telephone systems of other countries. 2 The RCA Communications, Inc., (which is not a party to the
necessity, or for laudable purposes, the sanctity of the grave, the last resting place of our friends, present case but has contractual relations with the parties) is an American corporation authorized to
should be maintained, and the preventative aid of the courts should be invoked for that object. transact business in the Philippines and is the grantee, by assignment, of a legislative franchise to
(Railroad Company vs. Cemetery Co., 116 Tenn., 400; Evergreen Cemetery Association vs. The City of operate a domestic station for the reception and transmission of long distance wireless messages (Act
New Haven, 43 Conn., 234; Anderson vs. Acheson, 132 Iowa, 744; Beatty vs. Kurtz, 2 Peters, 566.) 2178) and to operate broadcasting and radio-telephone and radio-telegraphic communications services
(Act 3180). 3
Sometime in 1933, the defendant, PLDT, and the RCA Communications, Inc., entered into an (1) to forthwith reconnect and restore the seventy-eight (78) trunk lines that it has disconnected
agreement whereby telephone messages, coming from the United States and received by RCA's between the facilities of the Government Telephone System, including its overseas telephone services,
domestic station, could automatically be transferred to the lines of PLDT; and vice-versa, for calls and the facilities of defendant; (2) to refrain from carrying into effect its threat to sever the existing
collected by the PLDT for transmission from the Philippines to the United States. The contracting telephone communication between the Bureau of Telecommunications and defendant, and not to make
parties agreed to divide the tolls, as follows: 25% to PLDT and 75% to RCA. The sharing was amended connection over its telephone system of telephone calls coming to the Philippines from foreign
in 1941 to 30% for PLDT and 70% for RCA, and again amended in 1947 to a 50-50 basis. The countries through the said Bureau's telephone facilities and the radio facilities of RCA Communications,
arrangement was later extended to radio-telephone messages to and from European and Asiatic Inc.; and (3) to accept and connect through its telephone system all such telephone calls coming to the
countries. Their contract contained a stipulation that either party could terminate it on a 24-month Philippines from foreign countries until further order of this Court.
notice to the other. 4 On 2 February 1956, PLDT gave notice to RCA to terminate their contract on 2
February 1958. 5 On 28 April 1958, the defendant company filed its answer, with counterclaims.

Soon after its creation in 1947, the Bureau of Telecommunications set up its own Government It denied any obligation on its part to execute a contrary of services with the Bureau of
Telephone System by utilizing its own appropriation and equipment and by renting trunk lines of the Telecommunications; contested the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance to compel it to enter into
PLDT to enable government offices to call private parties. 6 Its application for the use of these trunk interconnecting agreements, and averred that it was justified to disconnect the trunk lines heretofore
lines was in the usual form of applications for telephone service, containing a statement, above the leased to the Bureau of Telecommunications under the existing agreement because its facilities were
signature of the applicant, that the latter will abide by the rules and regulations of the PLDT which are being used in fraud of its rights. PLDT further claimed that the Bureau was engaging in commercial
on file with the Public Service Commission. 7 One of the many rules prohibits the public use of the telephone operations in excess of authority, in competition with, and to the prejudice of, the PLDT,
service furnished the telephone subscriber for his private use. 8 The Bureau has extended its services using defendants own telephone poles, without proper accounting of revenues.
to the general public since 1948, 9 using the same trunk lines owned by, and rented from, the PLDT,
and prescribing its (the Bureau's) own schedule of rates. 10 Through these trunk lines, a Government After trial, the lower court rendered judgment that it could not compel the PLDT to enter into an
Telephone System (GTS) subscriber could make a call to a PLDT subscriber in the same way that the agreement with the Bureau because the parties were not in agreement; that under Executive Order 94,
latter could make a call to the former. establishing the Bureau of Telecommunications, said Bureau was not limited to servicing government
offices alone, nor was there any in the contract of lease of the trunk lines, since the PLDT knew, or
On 5 March 1958, the plaintiff, through the Director of Telecommunications, entered into an ought to have known, at the time that their use by the Bureau was to be public throughout the Islands,
agreement with RCA Communications, Inc., for a joint overseas telephone service whereby the Bureau hence the Bureau was neither guilty of fraud, abuse, or misuse of the poles of the PLDT; and, in view of
would convey radio-telephone overseas calls received by RCA's station to and from local residents. 11 serious public prejudice that would result from the disconnection of the trunk lines, declared the
Actually, they inaugurated this joint operation on 2 February 1958, under a "provisional" agreement. 12 preliminary injunction permanent, although it dismissed both the complaint and the counterclaims.

On 7 April 1958, the defendant Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, complained to the Both parties appealed.
Bureau of Telecommunications that said bureau was violating the conditions under which their Private
Branch Exchange (PBX) is inter-connected with the PLDT's facilities, referring to the rented trunk lines, Taking up first the appeal of the Republic, the latter complains of the action of the trial court in
for the Bureau had used the trunk lines not only for the use of government offices but even to serve dismissing the part of its complaint seeking to compel the defendant to enter into an interconnecting
private persons or the general public, in competition with the business of the PLDT; and gave notice contract with it, because the parties could not agree on the terms and conditions of the
that if said violations were not stopped by midnight of 12 April 1958, the PLDT would sever the interconnection, and of its refusal to fix the terms and conditions therefor.
telephone connections. 13 When the PLDT received no reply, it disconnected the trunk lines being
rented by the Bureau at midnight on 12 April 1958. 14 The result was the isolation of the Philippines, on We agree with the court below that parties can not be coerced to enter into a contract where no
telephone services, from the rest of the world, except the United States. 15 agreement is had between them as to the principal terms and conditions of the contract. Freedom to
stipulate such terms and conditions is of the essence of our contractual system, and by express
At that time, the Bureau was maintaining 5,000 telephones and had 5,000 pending applications for provision of the statute, a contract may be annulled if tainted by violence, intimidation, or undue
telephone connection. 16 The PLDT was also maintaining 60,000 telephones and had also 20,000 influence (Articles 1306, 1336, 1337, Civil Code of the Philippines). But the court a quo has apparently
pending applications. 17 Through the years, neither of them has been able to fill up the demand for overlooked that while the Republic may not compel the PLDT to celebrate a contract with it, the
telephone service. Republic may, in the exercise of the sovereign power of eminent domain, require the telephone
company to permit interconnection of the government telephone system and that of the PLDT, as the
The Bureau of Telecommunications had proposed to the PLDT on 8 January 1958 that both enter into needs of the government service may require, subject to the payment of just compensation to be
an interconnecting agreement, with the government paying (on a call basis) for all calls passing determined by the court. Nominally, of course, the power of eminent domain results in the taking or
through the interconnecting facilities from the Government Telephone System to the PLDT. 18 The PLDT appropriation of title to, and possession of, the expropriated property; but no cogent reason appears
replied that it was willing to enter into an agreement on overseas telephone service to Europe and why the said power may not be availed of to impose only a burden upon the owner of condemned
Asian countries provided that the Bureau would submit to the jurisdiction and regulations of the Public property, without loss of title and possession. It is unquestionable that real property may, through
Service Commission and in consideration of 37 1/2% of the gross revenues. 19 In its memorandum in expropriation, be subjected to an easement of right of way. The use of the PLDT's lines and services to
lieu of oral argument in this Court dated 9 February 1964, on page 8, the defendant reduced its offer to allow inter-service connection between both telephone systems is not much different. In either case
33 1/3 % (1/3) as its share in the overseas telephone service. The proposals were not accepted by private property is subjected to a burden for public use and benefit. If, under section 6, Article XIII, of
either party. the Constitution, the State may, in the interest of national welfare, transfer utilities to public ownership
upon payment of just compensation, there is no reason why the State may not require a public utility to
On 12 April 1958, plaintiff Republic commenced suit against the defendant, Philippine Long Distance render services in the general interest, provided just compensation is paid therefor. Ultimately, the
Telephone Company, in the Court of First Instance of Manila (Civil Case No. 35805), praying in its beneficiary of the interconnecting service would be the users of both telephone systems, so that the
complaint for judgment commanding the PLDT to execute a contract with plaintiff, through the Bureau, condemnation would be for public use.
for the use of the facilities of defendant's telephone system throughout the Philippines under such
terms and conditions as the court might consider reasonable, and for a writ of preliminary injunction The Bureau of Telecommunications, under section 78 (b) of Executive Order No. 94, may operate and
against the defendant company to restrain the severance of the existing telephone connections and/or maintain wire telephone or radio telephone communications throughout the Philippines by utilizing
restore those severed. existing facilities in cities, towns, and provinces under such terms and conditions or arrangement with
present owners or operators as may be agreed upon to the satisfaction of all concerned; but there is
Acting on the application of the plaintiff, and on the ground that the severance of telephone nothing in this section that would exclude resort to condemnation proceedings where unreasonable or
connections by the defendant company would isolate the Philippines from other countries, the court a unjust terms and conditions are exacted, to the extent of crippling or seriously hampering the
quo, on 14 April 1958, issued an order for the defendant: operations of said Bureau.
SEC. 14. The rights herein granted shall not be exclusive, and the rights and power to grant to any
A perusal of the complaint shows that the Republic's cause of action is predicated upon the radio corporation, association or person other than the grantee franchise for the telephone or electrical
telephonic isolation of the Bureau's facilities from the outside world if the severance of interconnection transmission of message or signals shall not be impaired or affected by the granting of this franchise:
were to be carried out by the PLDT, thereby preventing the Bureau of Telecommunications from (Act 3436)
properly discharging its functions, to the prejudice of the general public. Save for the prayer to compel
the PLDT to enter into a contract (and the prayer is no essential part of the pleading), the averments And third, as the trial court correctly stated, "when the Bureau of Telecommunications subscribed to
make out a case for compulsory rendering of inter-connecting services by the telephone company upon the trunk lines, defendant knew or should have known that their use by the subscriber was more or less
such terms and conditions as the court may determine to be just. And since the lower court found that public and all embracing in nature, that is, throughout the Philippines, if not abroad" (Decision, Record
both parties "are practically at one that defendant (PLDT) is entitled to reasonable compensation from on Appeal, page 216).
plaintiff for the reasonable use of the former's telephone facilities" (Decision, Record on Appeal, page
224), the lower court should have proceeded to treat the case as one of condemnation of such services The acceptance by the defendant of the payment of rentals, despite its knowledge that the plaintiff
independently of contract and proceeded to determine the just and reasonable compensation for the had extended the use of the trunk lines to commercial purposes, continuously since 1948, implies
same, instead of dismissing the petition. assent by the defendant to such extended use. Since this relationship has been maintained for a long
time and the public has patronized both telephone systems, and their interconnection is to the public
This view we have taken of the true nature of the Republic's petition necessarily results in overruling convenience, it is too late for the defendant to claim misuse of its facilities, and it is not now at liberty
the plea of defendant-appellant PLDT that the court of first instance had no jurisdiction to entertain the to unilaterally sever the physical connection of the trunk lines.
petition and that the proper forum for the action was the Public Service Commission. That body, under
the law, has no authority to pass upon actions for the taking of private property under the sovereign ..., but there is high authority for the position that, when such physical connection has been
right of eminent domain. Furthermore, while the defendant telephone company is a public utility voluntarily made, under a fair and workable arrangement and guaranteed by contract and the
corporation whose franchise, equipment and other properties are under the jurisdiction, supervision continuous line has come to be patronized and established as a great public convenience, such
and control of the Public Service Commission (Sec. 13, Public Service Act), yet the plaintiff's connection shall not in breach of the agreement be severed by one of the parties. In that case, the
telecommunications network is a public service owned by the Republic and operated by an public is held to have such an interest in the arrangement that its rights must receive due
instrumentality of the National Government, hence exempt, under Section 14 of the Public Service Act, consideration. This position finds approval in State ex rel. vs. Cadwaller, 172 Ind. 619, 636, 87 N.E. 650,
from such jurisdiction, supervision and control. The Bureau of Telecommunications was created in and is stated in the elaborate and learned opinion of Chief Justice Myers as follows: "Such physical
pursuance of a state policy reorganizing the government offices connection cannot be required as of right, but if such connection is voluntarily made by contract, as is
here alleged to be the case, so that the public acquires an interest in its continuance, the act of the
to meet the exigencies attendant upon the establishment of the free and independent Government of parties in making such connection is equivalent to a declaration of a purpose to waive the primary right
the Republic of the Philippines, and for the purpose of promoting simplicity, economy and efficiency in of independence, and it imposes upon the property such a public status that it may not be disregarded"
its operation (Section 1, Republic Act No. 51) citing Mahan v. Mich. Tel. Co., 132 Mich. 242, 93 N.W. 629, and the reasons upon which it is in part
made to rest are referred to in the same opinion, as follows: "Where private property is by the consent
and the determination of state policy is not vested in the Commission (Utilities Com. vs. Bartonville of the owner invested with a public interest or privilege for the benefit of the public, the owner can no
Bus Line, 290 Ill. 574; 124 N.E. 373). longer deal with it as private property only, but must hold it subject to the right of the public in the
exercise of that public interest or privilege conferred for their benefit." Allnut v. Inglis (1810) 12 East,
Defendant PLDT, as appellant, contends that the court below was in error in not holding that the 527. The doctrine of this early case is the acknowledged law. (Clinton-Dunn Tel. Co. v. Carolina Tel. &
Bureau of Telecommunications was not empowered to engage in commercial telephone business, and Tel. Co., 74 S.E. 636, 638).
in ruling that said defendant was not justified in disconnecting the telephone trunk lines it had
previously leased to the Bureau. We find that the court a quo ruled correctly in rejecting both It is clear that the main reason for the objection of the PLDT lies in the fact that said appellant did not
assertions. expect that the Bureau's telephone system would expand with such rapidity as it has done; but this
expansion is no ground for the discontinuance of the service agreed upon.
Executive Order No. 94, Series of 1947, reorganizing the Bureau of Telecommunications, expressly
empowered the latter in its Section 79, subsection (b), to "negotiate for, operate and maintain wire The last issue urged by the PLDT as appellant is its right to compensation for the use of its poles for
telephone or radio telephone communication service throughout the Philippines", and, in subsection bearing telephone wires of the Bureau of Telecommunications. Admitting that section 19 of the PLDT
(c), "to prescribe, subject to approval by the Department Head, equitable rates of charges for charter reserves to the Government
messages handled by the system and/or for time calls and other services that may be rendered by the
system". Nothing in these provisions limits the Bureau to non-commercial activities or prevents it from the privilege without compensation of using the poles of the grantee to attach one ten-pin cross-arm,
serving the general public. It may be that in its original prospectuses the Bureau officials had stated and to install, maintain and operate wires of its telegraph system thereon; Provided, however, That the
that the service would be limited to government offices: but such limitations could not block future Bureau of Posts shall have the right to place additional cross-arms and wires on the poles of the
expansion of the system, as authorized by the terms of the Executive Order, nor could the officials of grantee by paying a compensation, the rate of which is to be agreed upon by the Director of Posts and
the Bureau bind the Government not to engage in services that are authorized by law. It is a well- the grantee;
known rule that erroneous application and enforcement of the law by public officers do not block
subsequent correct application of the statute (PLDT vs. Collector of Internal Revenue, 90 Phil. 676), and the defendant counterclaimed for P8,772.00 for the use of its poles by the plaintiff, contending that
that the Government is never estopped by mistake or error on the part of its agents (Pineda vs. Court what was allowed free use, under the aforequoted provision, was one ten-pin cross-arm attachment
of First Instance of Tayabas, 52 Phil. 803, 807; Benguet Consolidated Mining Co. vs. Pineda, 98 Phil. and only for plaintiff's telegraph system, not for its telephone system; that said section could not refer
711, 724). to the plaintiff's telephone system, because it did not have such telephone system when defendant
acquired its franchise. The implication of the argument is that plaintiff has to pay for the use of
The theses that the Bureau's commercial services constituted unfair competition, and that the Bureau defendant's poles if such use is for plaintiff's telephone system and has to pay also if it attaches more
was guilty of fraud and abuse under its contract, are, likewise, untenable. than one (1) ten-pin cross-arm for telegraphic purposes.

First, the competition is merely hypothetical, the demand for telephone service being very much more As there is no proof that the telephone wires strain the poles of the PLDT more than the telegraph
than the supposed competitors can supply. As previously noted, the PLDT had 20,000 pending wires, nor that they cause more damage than the wires of the telegraph system, or that the
applications at the time, and the Bureau had another 5,000. The telephone company's inability to meet Government has attached to the poles more than one ten-pin cross-arm as permitted by the PLDT
the demands for service are notorious even now. Second, the charter of the defendant expressly charter, we see no point in this assignment of error. So long as the burden to be borne by the PLDT
provides: poles is not increased, we see no reason why the reservation in favor of the telegraph wires of the
government should not be extended to its telephone lines, any time that the government decided to
engage also in this kind of communication.
In the ultimate analysis, the true objection of the PLDT to continue the link between its network and
that of the Government is that the latter competes "parasitically" (sic) with its own telephone services.
Considering, however, that the PLDT franchise is non-exclusive; that it is well-known that defendant
PLDT is unable to adequately cope with the current demands for telephone service, as shown by the
number of pending applications therefor; and that the PLDT's right to just compensation for the
services rendered to the Government telephone system and its users is herein recognized and
preserved, the objections of defendant-appellant are without merit. To uphold the PLDT's contention is
to subordinate the needs of the general public to the right of the PLDT to derive profit from the future
expansion of its services under its non-exclusive franchise.

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of First Instance, now under appeal, is affirmed, except in so
far as it dismisses the petition of the Republic of the Philippines to compel the Philippine Long Distance
Telephone Company to continue servicing the Government telephone system upon such terms, and for
a compensation, that the trial court may determine to be just, including the period elapsed from the
filing of the original complaint or petition. And for this purpose, the records are ordered returned to the
court of origin for further hearings and other proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion. No costs.

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. JUAN F. FAJARDO, ET AL.,


defendants-appellants.
abuses in its execution, depending upon no conditions or qualifications whatever, other than the
Assistant Solicitor General Esmeraldo Umali and Higinio V. Catalan for appellee. unregulated arbitrary will of the city authorities as the touchstone by which its validity is to be tested.
Prila, Pardalis and Pejo for appellants. Fundamental rights under our government do not depend for their existence upon such a slender and
uncertain thread. Ordinances which thus invest a city council with a discretion which is purely arbitrary,
REYES, J. B. L., J.: and which may be exercised in the interest of a favored few, are unreasonable and invalid. The
ordinance should have established a rule by which its impartial enforcement could be secured. All of
Appeal from the decision of the Court of First Instance of Camarines Sur convicting defendants- the authorities cited above sustain this conclusion.
appellants Juan F. Fajardo and Pedro Babilonia of a violation of Ordinance No. 7, Series of 1950, of the
Municipality of Baao, Camarines Sur, for having constructed without a permit from the municipal mayor As was said in City of Richmond vs. Dudley, 129 Ind. 112,28 N. E. 312, 314 13 L. R. A. 587, 28 Am. St.
a building that destroys the view of the public plaza. Rep. 180: "It seems from the foregoing authorities to be well established that municipal ordinances
placing restrictions upon lawful conduct or the lawful use of property must, in order to be valid, specify
It appears that on August 15, 1950, during the incumbency of defendant-appellant Juan F. Fajardo as the rules and conditions to be observed in such conduct or business; and must admit of the exercise of
mayor of the municipality of Baao, Camarines Sur, the municipal council passed the ordinance in the privilege of all citizens alike who will comply with such rules and conditions; and must not admit of
question providing as follows: the exercise, or of an opportunity for the exercise, of any arbitrary discrimination by the municipal
authorities between citizens who will so comply. (Schloss Poster Adv. Co., Inc. vs. City of Rock Hill, et al.,
SECTION 1. Any person or persons who will construct or repair a building should, before constructing or 2 SE (2d), pp. 394-395).
repairing, obtain a written permit from the Municipal Mayor.
It is contended, on the other hand, that the mayor can refuse a permit solely in case that the proposed
SEC. 2. A fee of not less than P2.00 should be charged for each building permit and P1.00 for each building "destroys the view of the public plaza or occupies any public property" (as stated in its section
repair permit issued. 3); and in fact, the refusal of the Mayor of Baao to issue a building permit to the appellant was
predicated on the ground that the proposed building would "destroy the view of the public plaza" by
SEC. 3. PENALTY Any violation of the provisions of the above, this ordinance, shall make the violation preventing its being seen from the public highway. Even thus interpreted, the ordinance is
liable to pay a fine of not less than P25 nor more than P50 or imprisonment of not less than 12 days nor unreasonable and oppressive, in that it operates to permanently deprive appellants of the right to use
more than 24 days or both, at the discretion of the court. If said building destroys the view of the Public their own property; hence, it oversteps the bounds of police power, and amounts to a taking of
Plaza or occupies any public property, it shall be removed at the expense of the owner of the building appellants property without just compensation. We do not overlook that the modern tendency is to
or house. regard the beautification of neighborhoods as conducive to the comfort and happiness of residents. But
while property may be regulated in the interest of the general welfare, and in its pursuit, the State may
SEC. 4. EFFECTIVITY This ordinance shall take effect on its approval. (Orig. Recs., P. 3) prohibit structures offensive to the sight (Churchill and Tait vs. Rafferty, 32 Phil. 580), the State may
not, under the guise of police power, permanently divest owners of the beneficial use of their property
Four years later, after the term of appellant Fajardo as mayor had expired, he and his son in-law, and practically confiscate them solely to preserve or assure the aesthetic appearance of the
appellant Babilonia, filed a written request with the incumbent municipal mayor for a permit to community. As the case now stands, every structure that may be erected on appellants' land,
construct a building adjacent to their gasoline station on a parcel of land registered in Fajardo's name, regardless of its own beauty, stands condemned under the ordinance in question, because it would
located along the national highway and separated from the public plaza by a creek (Exh. D). On January interfere with the view of the public plaza from the highway. The appellants would, in effect, be
16, 1954, the request was denied, for the reason among others that the proposed building would constrained to let their land remain idle and unused for the obvious purpose for which it is best suited,
destroy the view or beauty of the public plaza (Exh. E). On January 18, 1954, defendants reiterated being urban in character. To legally achieve that result, the municipality must give appellants just
their request for a building permit (Exh. 3), but again the request was turned down by the mayor. compensation and an opportunity to be heard.
Whereupon, appellants proceeded with the construction of the building without a permit, because they
needed a place of residence very badly, their former house having been destroyed by a typhoon and An ordinance which permanently so restricts the use of property that it can not be used for any
hitherto they had been living on leased property. reasonable purpose goes, it is plain, beyond regulation and must be recognized as a taking of the
property. The only substantial difference, in such case, between restriction and actual taking, is that the
On February 26, 1954, appellants were charged before and convicted by the justice of the peace court restriction leaves the owner subject to the burden of payment of taxation, while outright confiscation
of Baao, Camarines Sur, for violation of the ordinance in question. Defendants appealed to the Court of would relieve him of that burden. (Arverne Bay Constr. Co. vs. Thatcher (N.Y.) 117 ALR. 1110, 1116).
First Instance, which affirmed the conviction, and sentenced appellants to pay a fine of P35 each and
the costs, as well as to demolish the building in question because it destroys the view of the public A regulation which substantially deprives an owner of all beneficial use of his property is confiscation
plaza of Baao, in that "it hinders the view of travelers from the National Highway to the said public and is a deprivation within the meaning of the 14th Amendment. (Sundlum vs. Zoning Bd., 145 Atl.
plaza." From this decision, the accused appealed to the Court of Appeals, but the latter forwarded the 451; also Eaton vs. Sweeny, 177 NE 412; Taylor vs. Jacksonville, 133 So. 114).
records to us because the appeal attacks the constitutionality of the ordinance in question.
Zoning which admittedly limits property to a use which can not reasonably be made of it cannot be said
We find that the appealed conviction can not stand. to set aside such property to a use but constitutes the taking of such property without just
compensation. Use of property is an element of ownership therein. Regardless of the opinion of zealots
A first objection to the validity of the ordinance in question is that under it the mayor has absolute that property may properly, by zoning, be utterly destroyed without compensation, such principle finds
discretion to issue or deny a permit. The ordinance fails to state any policy, or to set up any standard to no support in the genius of our government nor in the principles of justice as we known them. Such a
guide or limit the mayor's action. No purpose to be attained by requiring the permit is expressed; no doctrine shocks the sense of justice. If it be of public benefit that property remain open and unused,
conditions for its grant or refusal are enumerated. It is not merely a case of deficient standards; then certainly the public, and not the private individuals, should bear the cost of reasonable
standards are entirely lacking. The ordinance thus confers upon the mayor arbitrary and unrestricted compensation for such property under the rules of law governing the condemnation of private property
power to grant or deny the issuance of building permits, and it is a settled rule that such an undefined for public use. (Tews vs. Woolhiser (1933) 352 I11. 212, 185 N.E. 827) (Emphasis supplied.)
and unlimited delegation of power to allow or prevent an activity, per se lawful, is invalid (People vs.
Vera, 65 Phil., 56; Primicias vs. Fugoso, 80 Phil., 71; Schloss Poster Adv. Co. vs. Rock Hill, 2 SE (2d) 392) The validity of the ordinance in question was justified by the court below under section 2243, par. (c),
of the Revised Administrative Code, as amended. This section provides:
The ordinance in question in no way controls or guides the discretion vested thereby in the
respondents. It prescribes no uniform rule upon which the special permission of the city is to be SEC. 2243. Certain legislative powers of discretionary character. The municipal council shall have
granted. Thus the city is clothed with the uncontrolled power to capriciously grant the privilege to some authority to exercise the following discretionary powers:
and deny it others; to refuse the application of one landowner or lessee and to grant that of another,
when for all material purposes, the two applying for precisely the same privileges under the same (c) To establish fire limits in populous centers, prescribe the kinds of buildings that may be constructed
circumstances. The danger of such an ordinance is that it makes possible arbitrary discriminations and or repaired within them, and issue permits for the creation or repair thereof, charging a fee which shall
be determined by the municipal council and which shall not be less than two pesos for each building so it had a total market value of P11,389,485.00; that the Republic, through the Armed Forces of the
permit and one peso for each repair permit issued. The fees collected under the provisions of this Philippines, particularly the Philippine Air Force, had been, despite repeated demands, illegally
subsection shall accrue to the municipal school fund. occupying her property since July 1, 1956, thereby preventing her from using and disposing of it, thus
causing her damages by way of unrealized profits. This defendant prayed that the complaint be
Under the provisions of the section above quoted, however, the power of the municipal council to dismissed, or that the Republic be ordered to pay her P15.00 per square meter, or a total of
require the issuance of building permits rests upon its first establishing fire limits in populous parts of P11,389,485.00, plus interest thereon at 6% per annum from July 1, 1956; that the Republic be ordered
the town and prescribing the kinds of buildings that may be constructed or repaired within them. As to pay her P5,000,000.00 as unrealized profits, and the costs of the suit.
there is absolutely no showing in this case that the municipal council had either established fire limits
within the municipality or set standards for the kind or kinds of buildings to be constructed or repaired By order of the trial court, dated August, 1959, Amparo C. Diaz, Dolores G. viuda de Gil, Paloma
within them before it passed the ordinance in question, it is clear that said ordinance was not Castellvi, Carmen Castellvi, Rafael Castellvi, Luis Castellvi, Natividad Castellvi de Raquiza, Jose Castellvi
conceived and promulgated under the express authority of sec. 2243 (c) aforequoted. and Consuelo Castellvi were allowed to intervene as parties defendants. Subsequently, Joaquin V.
Gozun, Jr., husband of defendant Nieves Toledo Gozun, was also allowed by the court to intervene as a
We rule that the regulation in question, Municipal Ordinance No. 7, Series of 1950, of the Municipality of party defendant.
Baao, Camarines Sur, was beyond the authority of said municipality to enact, and is therefore null and
void. Hence, the conviction of herein appellants is reversed, and said accused are acquitted, with costs After the Republic had deposited with the Provincial Treasurer of Pampanga the amount of P259,669.10,
de oficio. So ordered. the trial court ordered that the Republic be placed in possession of the lands. The Republic was actually
placed in possession of the lands on August 10,
1959. 1

In her "motion to dismiss", dated October 22, 1959, Toledo-Gozun alleged, among other things, that her
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellant, vs. CARMEN M. VDA. DE CASTELLVI, ET two parcels of land were residential lands, in fact a portion with an area of 343,303 square meters had
AL., defendants-appellees. already been subdivided into different lots for sale to the general public, and the remaining portion had
already been set aside for expansion sites of the already completed subdivisions; that the fair market
ZALDIVAR, J.:p value of said lands was P15.00 per square meter, so they had a total market value of P8,085,675.00;
and she prayed that the complaint be dismissed, or that she be paid the amount of P8,085,675.00, plus
Appeal from the decision of the Court of First Instance of Pampanga in its Civil Case No. 1623, an interest thereon at the rate of 6% per annum from October 13, 1959, and attorney's fees in the amount
expropriation proceeding. of P50,000.00.

Plaintiff-appellant, the Republic of the Philippines, (hereinafter referred to as the Republic) filed, on June Intervenors Jose Castellvi and Consuelo Castellvi in their answer, filed on February 11, 1960, and also
26, 1959, a complaint for eminent domain against defendant-appellee, Carmen M. Vda. de Castellvi, intervenor Joaquin Gozun, Jr., husband of defendant Maria Nieves Toledo-Gozun, in his motion to
judicial administratrix of the estate of the late Alfonso de Castellvi (hereinafter referred to as Castellvi), dismiss, dated May 27, 1960, all alleged that the value of the lands sought to be expropriated was at
over a parcel of land situated in the barrio of San Jose, Floridablanca, Pampanga, described as follows: the rate of P15.00 per square meter.

A parcel of land, Lot No. 199-B Bureau of Lands Plan Swo 23666. Bounded on the NE by Maria Nieves On November 4, 1959, the trial court authorized the Provincial Treasurer of Pampanga to pay defendant
Toledo-Gozun; on the SE by national road; on the SW by AFP reservation, and on the NW by AFP Toledo-Gozun the sum of P107,609.00 as provisional value of her lands. 2 On May 16, 1960 the trial
reservation. Containing an area of 759,299 square meters, more or less, and registered in the name of Court authorized the Provincial Treasurer of Pampanga to pay defendant Castellvi the amount of
Alfonso Castellvi under TCT No. 13631 of the Register of Pampanga ...; P151,859.80 as provisional value of the land under her administration, and ordered said defendant to
deposit the amount with the Philippine National Bank under the supervision of the Deputy Clerk of
and against defendant-appellee Maria Nieves Toledo Gozun (hereinafter referred to as Toledo-Gozun Court. In another order of May 16, 1960 the trial Court entered an order of condemnation. 3
over two parcels of land described as follows:
The trial Court appointed three commissioners: Atty. Amadeo Yuzon, Clerk of Court, as commissioner
A parcel of land (Portion Lot Blk-1, Bureau of Lands Plan Psd, 26254. Bounded on the NE by Lot 3, on for the court; Atty. Felicisimo G. Pamandanan, counsel of the Philippine National Bank Branch at
the SE by Lot 3; on the SW by Lot 1-B, Blk. 2 (equivalent to Lot 199-B Swo 23666; on the NW by AFP Floridablanca, for the plaintiff; and Atty. Leonardo F. Lansangan, Filipino legal counsel at Clark Air Base,
military reservation. Containing an area of 450,273 square meters, more or less and registered in the for the defendants. The Commissioners, after having qualified themselves, proceeded to the
name of Maria Nieves Toledo-Gozun under TCT No. 8708 of the Register of Deeds of Pampanga. ..., and performance of their duties.

A parcel of land (Portion of lot 3, Blk-1, Bureau of Lands Plan Psd 26254. Bounded on the NE by Lot No. On March 15,1961 the Commissioners submitted their report and recommendation, wherein, after
3, on the SE by school lot and national road, on the SW by Lot 1-B Blk 2 (equivalent to Lot 199-B Swo having determined that the lands sought to be expropriated were residential lands, they recommended
23666), on the NW by Lot 1-B, Blk-1. Containing an area of 88,772 square meters, more or less, and unanimously that the lowest price that should be paid was P10.00 per square meter, for both the lands
registered in the name of Maria Nieves Toledo Gozun under TCT No. 8708 of the Register of Deeds of of Castellvi and Toledo-Gozun; that an additional P5,000.00 be paid to Toledo-Gozun for improvements
Pampanga, .... found on her land; that legal interest on the compensation, computed from August 10, 1959, be paid
after deducting the amounts already paid to the owners, and that no consequential damages be
In its complaint, the Republic alleged, among other things, that the fair market value of the above- awarded. 4 The Commissioners' report was objected to by all the parties in the case by defendants
mentioned lands, according to the Committee on Appraisal for the Province of Pampanga, was not more Castellvi and Toledo-Gozun, who insisted that the fair market value of their lands should be fixed at
than P2,000 per hectare, or a total market value of P259,669.10; and prayed, that the provisional value P15.00 per square meter; and by the Republic, which insisted that the price to be paid for the lands
of the lands be fixed at P259.669.10, that the court authorizes plaintiff to take immediate possession of should be fixed at P0.20 per square meter. 5
the lands upon deposit of that amount with the Provincial Treasurer of Pampanga; that the court
appoints three commissioners to ascertain and report to the court the just compensation for the After the parties-defendants and intervenors had filed their respective memoranda, and the Republic,
property sought to be expropriated, and that the court issues thereafter a final order of condemnation. after several extensions of time, had adopted as its memorandum its objections to the report of the
Commissioners, the trial court, on May 26, 1961, rendered its decision 6 the dispositive portion of
On June 29, 1959 the trial court issued an order fixing the provisional value of the lands at which reads as follows:
P259,669.10.
WHEREFORE, taking into account all the foregoing circumstances, and that the lands are titled, ... the
In her "motion to dismiss" filed on July 14, 1959, Castellvi alleged, among other things, that the land rising trend of land values ..., and the lowered purchasing power of the Philippine peso, the court finds
under her administration, being a residential land, had a fair market value of P15.00 per square meter,
that the unanimous recommendation of the commissioners of ten (P10.00) pesos per square meter for On February 14, 1972, Attys. Alberto Cacnio, and Associates, counsel for the estate of the late Don
the three lots of the defendants subject of this action is fair and just. Alfonso de Castellvi in the expropriation proceedings, filed a notice of attorney's lien, stating that as
per agreement with the administrator of the estate of Don Alfonso de Castellvi they shall receive by
xxx xxx xxx way of attorney's fees, "the sum equivalent to ten per centum of whatever the court may finally decide
as the expropriated price of the property subject matter of the case."
The plaintiff will pay 6% interest per annum on the total value of the lands of defendant Toledo-Gozun
since (sic) the amount deposited as provisional value from August 10, 1959 until full payment is made ---------
to said defendant or deposit therefor is made in court.
Before this Court, the Republic contends that the lower court erred:
In respect to the defendant Castellvi, interest at 6% per annum will also be paid by the plaintiff to
defendant Castellvi from July 1, 1956 when plaintiff commenced its illegal possession of the Castellvi 1. In finding the price of P10 per square meter of the lands subject of the instant proceedings as
land when the instant action had not yet been commenced to July 10, 1959 when the provisional value just compensation;
thereof was actually deposited in court, on the total value of the said (Castellvi) land as herein
adjudged. The same rate of interest shall be paid from July 11, 1959 on the total value of the land 2. In holding that the "taking" of the properties under expropriation commenced with the filing
herein adjudged minus the amount deposited as provisional value, or P151,859.80, such interest to run of this action;
until full payment is made to said defendant or deposit therefor is made in court. All the intervenors
having failed to produce evidence in support of their respective interventions, said interventions are 3. In ordering plaintiff-appellant to pay 6% interest on the adjudged value of the Castellvi
ordered dismissed. property to start from July of 1956;

The costs shall be charged to the plaintiff. 4. In denying plaintiff-appellant's motion for new trial based on newly discovered evidence.

On June 21, 1961 the Republic filed a motion for a new trial and/or reconsideration, upon the grounds of In its brief, the Republic discusses the second error assigned as the first issue to be considered. We
newly-discovered evidence, that the decision was not supported by the evidence, and that the decision shall follow the sequence of the Republic's discussion.
was against the law, against which motion defendants Castellvi and Toledo-Gozun filed their respective
oppositions. On July 8, 1961 when the motion of the Republic for new trial and/or reconsideration was 1. In support of the assigned error that the lower court erred in holding that the "taking" of the
called for hearing, the Republic filed a supplemental motion for new trial upon the ground of additional properties under expropriation commenced with the filing of the complaint in this case, the Republic
newly-discovered evidence. This motion for new trial and/or reconsideration was denied by the court on argues that the "taking" should be reckoned from the year 1947 when by virtue of a special lease
July 12, 1961. agreement between the Republic and appellee Castellvi, the former was granted the "right and
privilege" to buy the property should the lessor wish to terminate the lease, and that in the event of
On July 17, 1961 the Republic gave notice of its intention to appeal from the decision of May 26, 1961 such sale, it was stipulated that the fair market value should be as of the time of occupancy; and that
and the order of July 12, 1961. Defendant Castellvi also filed, on July 17, 1961, her notice of appeal the permanent improvements amounting to more that half a million pesos constructed during a period
from the decision of the trial court. of twelve years on the land, subject of expropriation, were indicative of an agreed pattern of
permanency and stability of occupancy by the Philippine Air Force in the interest of national Security. 7
The Republic filed various ex-parte motions for extension of time within which to file its record on
appeal. The Republic's record on appeal was finally submitted on December 6, 1961. Appellee Castellvi, on the other hand, maintains that the "taking" of property under the power of
eminent domain requires two essential elements, to wit: (1) entrance and occupation by condemn or
Defendants Castellvi and Toledo-Gozun filed not only a joint opposition to the approval of the Republic's upon the private property for more than a momentary or limited period, and (2) devoting it to a public
record on appeal, but also a joint memorandum in support of their opposition. The Republic also filed a use in such a way as to oust the owner and deprive him of all beneficial enjoyment of the property. This
memorandum in support of its prayer for the approval of its record on appeal. On December 27, 1961 appellee argues that in the instant case the first element is wanting, for the contract of lease relied
the trial court issued an order declaring both the record on appeal filed by the Republic, and the record upon provides for a lease from year to year; that the second element is also wanting, because the
on appeal filed by defendant Castellvi as having been filed out of time, thereby dismissing both Republic was paying the lessor Castellvi a monthly rental of P445.58; and that the contract of lease
appeals. does not grant the Republic the "right and privilege" to buy the premises "at the value at the time of
occupancy." 8
On January 11, 1962 the Republic filed a "motion to strike out the order of December 27, 1961 and for
reconsideration", and subsequently an amended record on appeal, against which motion the Appellee Toledo-Gozun did not comment on the Republic's argument in support of the second error
defendants Castellvi and Toledo-Gozun filed their opposition. On July 26, 1962 the trial court issued an assigned, because as far as she was concerned the Republic had not taken possession of her lands
order, stating that "in the interest of expediency, the questions raised may be properly and finally prior to August 10, 1959. 9
determined by the Supreme Court," and at the same time it ordered the Solicitor General to submit a
record on appeal containing copies of orders and pleadings specified therein. In an order dated In order to better comprehend the issues raised in the appeal, in so far as the Castellvi property is
November 19, 1962, the trial court approved the Republic's record on appeal as amended. concerned, it should be noted that the Castellvi property had been occupied by the Philippine Air Force
since 1947 under a contract of lease, typified by the contract marked Exh. 4-Castellvi, the pertinent
Defendant Castellvi did not insist on her appeal. Defendant Toledo-Gozun did not appeal. portions of which read:

The motion to dismiss the Republic's appeal was reiterated by appellees Castellvi and Toledo-Gozun CONTRACT OF LEASE
before this Court, but this Court denied the motion.
This AGREEMENT OF LEASE MADE AND ENTERED into by and between INTESTATE ESTATE OF ALFONSO
In her motion of August 11, 1964, appellee Castellvi sought to increase the provisional value of her DE CASTELLVI, represented by CARMEN M. DE CASTELLVI, Judicial Administratrix ... hereinafter called
land. The Republic, in its comment on Castellvi's motion, opposed the same. This Court denied the LESSOR and THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES represented by MAJ. GEN. CALIXTO DUQUE, Chief
Castellvi's motion in a resolution dated October 2,1964. of Staff of the ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES, hereinafter called the LESSEE,

The motion of appellees, Castellvi and Toledo-Gozun, dated October 6, 1969, praying that they be WITNESSETH:
authorized to mortgage the lands subject of expropriation, was denied by this Court or October 14,
1969. 1. For and in consideration of the rentals hereinafter reserved and the mutual terms, covenants
and conditions of the parties, the LESSOR has, and by these presents does, lease and let unto the
LESSEE the following described land together with the improvements thereon and appurtenances
thereof, viz: Before the expiration of the contract of lease on June 30, 1956 the Republic sought to renew the same
but Castellvi refused. When the AFP refused to vacate the leased premises after the termination of the
Un Terreno, Lote No. 27 del Plano de subdivision Psu 34752, parte de la hacienda de Campauit, situado contract, on July 11, 1956, Castellvi wrote to the Chief of Staff, AFP, informing the latter that the heirs
en el Barrio de San Jose, Municipio de Floridablanca Pampanga. ... midiendo una extension superficial of the property had decided not to continue leasing the property in question because they had decided
de cuatro milliones once mil cuatro cientos trienta y cinco (4,001,435) [sic] metros cuadrados, mas o to subdivide the land for sale to the general public, demanding that the property be vacated within 30
menos. days from receipt of the letter, and that the premises be returned in substantially the same condition
as before occupancy (Exh. 5 Castellvi). A follow-up letter was sent on January 12, 1957, demanding
Out of the above described property, 75.93 hectares thereof are actually occupied and covered by this the delivery and return of the property within one month from said date (Exh. 6 Castellvi). On January
contract. . 30, 1957, Lieutenant General Alfonso Arellano, Chief of Staff, answered the letter of Castellvi, saying
that it was difficult for the army to vacate the premises in view of the permanent installations and other
Above lot is more particularly described in TCT No. 1016, province of facilities worth almost P500,000.00 that were erected and already established on the property, and
Pampanga ... that, there being no other recourse, the acquisition of the property by means of expropriation
proceedings would be recommended to the President (Exhibit "7" Castellvi).
of which premises, the LESSOR warrants that he/she/they/is/are the registered owner(s) and with full
authority to execute a contract of this nature. Defendant Castellvi then brought suit in the Court of First Instance of Pampanga, in Civil Case No. 1458,
to eject the Philippine Air Force from the land. While this ejectment case was pending, the Republic
2. The term of this lease shall be for the period beginning July 1, 1952 the date the premises instituted these expropriation proceedings, and, as stated earlier in this opinion, the Republic was
were occupied by the PHILIPPINE AIR FORCE, AFP until June 30, 1953, subject to renewal for another placed in possession of the lands on August 10, 1959, On November 21, 1959, the Court of First
year at the option of the LESSEE or unless sooner terminated by the LESSEE as hereinafter provided. Instance of Pampanga, dismissed Civil Case No. 1458, upon petition of the parties, in an order which, in
part, reads as follows:
3. The LESSOR hereby warrants that the LESSEE shall have quiet, peaceful and undisturbed
possession of the demised premises throughout the full term or period of this lease and the LESSOR 1. Plaintiff has agreed, as a matter of fact has already signed an agreement with defendants,
undertakes without cost to the LESSEE to eject all trespassers, but should the LESSOR fail to do so, the whereby she has agreed to receive the rent of the lands, subject matter of the instant case from June
LESSEE at its option may proceed to do so at the expense of the LESSOR. The LESSOR further agrees 30, 1966 up to 1959 when the Philippine Air Force was placed in possession by virtue of an order of the
that should he/she/they sell or encumber all or any part of the herein described premises during the Court upon depositing the provisional amount as fixed by the Provincial Appraisal Committee with the
period of this lease, any conveyance will be conditioned on the right of the LESSEE hereunder. Provincial Treasurer of Pampanga;

4. The LESSEE shall pay to the LESSOR as monthly rentals under this lease the sum of FOUR 2. That because of the above-cited agreement wherein the administratrix decided to get the
HUNDRED FIFTY-FIVE PESOS & 58/100 (P455.58) ... rent corresponding to the rent from 1956 up to 1959 and considering that this action is one of illegal
detainer and/or to recover the possession of said land by virtue of non-payment of rents, the instant
5. The LESSEE may, at any time prior to the termination of this lease, use the property for any case now has become moot and academic and/or by virtue of the agreement signed by plaintiff, she
purpose or purposes and, at its own costs and expense make alteration, install facilities and fixtures has waived her cause of action in the above-entitled case. 12
and errect additions ... which facilities or fixtures ... so placed in, upon or attached to the said premises
shall be and remain property of the LESSEE and may be removed therefrom by the LESSEE prior to the The Republic urges that the "taking " of Castellvi's property should be deemed as of the year 1947 by
termination of this lease. The LESSEE shall surrender possession of the premises upon the expiration or virtue of afore-quoted lease agreement. In American Jurisprudence, Vol. 26, 2nd edition, Section 157,
termination of this lease and if so required by the LESSOR, shall return the premises in substantially the on the subject of "Eminent Domain, we read the definition of "taking" (in eminent domain) as follows:
same condition as that existing at the time same were first occupied by the AFP, reasonable and
ordinary wear and tear and damages by the elements or by circumstances over which the LESSEE has Taking' under the power of eminent domain may be defined generally as entering upon private
no control excepted: PROVIDED, that if the LESSOR so requires the return of the premises in such property for more than a momentary period, and, under the warrant or color of legal authority,
condition, the LESSOR shall give written notice thereof to the LESSEE at least twenty (20) days before devoting it to a public use, or otherwise informally appropriating or injuriously affecting it in such a way
the termination of the lease and provided, further, that should the LESSOR give notice within the time as substantially to oust the owner and deprive him of all beneficial enjoyment thereof. 13
specified above, the LESSEE shall have the right and privilege to compensate the LESSOR at the fair
value or the equivalent, in lieu of performance of its obligation, if any, to restore the premises. Fair Pursuant to the aforecited authority, a number of circumstances must be present in the "taking" of
value is to be determined as the value at the time of occupancy less fair wear and tear and property for purposes of eminent domain.
depreciation during the period of this lease.
First, the expropriator must enter a private property. This circumstance is present in the instant case,
6. The LESSEE may terminate this lease at any time during the term hereof by giving written when by virtue of the lease agreement the Republic, through the AFP, took possession of the property
notice to the LESSOR at least thirty (30) days in advance ... of Castellvi.

7. The LESSEE should not be responsible, except under special legislation for any damages to Second, the entrance into private property must be for more than a momentary period. "Momentary"
the premises by reason of combat operations, acts of GOD, the elements or other acts and deeds not means, "lasting but a moment; of but a moment's duration" (The Oxford English Dictionary, Volume VI,
due to the negligence on the part of the LESSEE. page 596); "lasting a very short time; transitory; having a very brief life; operative or recurring at every
moment" (Webster's Third International Dictionary, 1963 edition.) The word "momentary" when applied
8. This LEASE AGREEMENT supersedes and voids any and all agreements and undertakings, to possession or occupancy of (real) property should be construed to mean "a limited period" not
oral or written, previously entered into between the parties covering the property herein leased, the indefinite or permanent. The aforecited lease contract was for a period of one year, renewable from
same having been merged herein. This AGREEMENT may not be modified or altered except by year to year. The entry on the property, under the lease, is temporary, and considered transitory. The
instrument in writing only duly signed by the parties. 10 fact that the Republic, through the AFP, constructed some installations of a permanent nature does not
alter the fact that the entry into the land was transitory, or intended to last a year, although renewable
It was stipulated by the parties, that "the foregoing contract of lease (Exh. 4, Castellvi) is 'similar in from year to year by consent of 'The owner of the land. By express provision of the lease agreement
terms and conditions, including the date', with the annual contracts entered into from year to year the Republic, as lessee, undertook to return the premises in substantially the same condition as at the
between defendant Castellvi and the Republic of the Philippines (p. 17, t.s.n., Vol. III)". 11 It is time the property was first occupied by the AFP. It is claimed that the intention of the lessee was to
undisputed, therefore, that the Republic occupied Castellvi's land from July 1, 1947, by virtue of the occupy the land permanently, as may be inferred from the construction of permanent improvements.
above-mentioned contract, on a year to year basis (from July 1 of each year to June 30 of the But this "intention" cannot prevail over the clear and express terms of the lease contract. Intent is to be
succeeding year) under the terms and conditions therein stated. deduced from the language employed by the parties, and the terms 'of the contract, when
unambiguous, as in the instant case, are conclusive in the absence of averment and proof of mistake or deceptive scheme, which would have the effect of depriving the owner of the property of its true and
fraud the question being not what the intention was, but what is expressed in the language used. fair market value at the time when the expropriation proceedings were actually instituted in court. The
(City of Manila v. Rizal Park Co., Inc., 53 Phil. 515, 525); Magdalena Estate, Inc. v. Myrick, 71 Phil. 344, Republic's claim that it had the "right and privilege" to buy the property at the value that it had at the
348). Moreover, in order to judge the intention of the contracting parties, their contemporaneous and time when it first occupied the property as lessee nowhere appears in the lease contract. What was
subsequent acts shall be principally considered (Art. 1371, Civil Code). If the intention of the lessee agreed expressly in paragraph No. 5 of the lease agreement was that, should the lessor require the
(Republic) in 1947 was really to occupy permanently Castellvi's property, why was the contract of lease lessee to return the premises in the same condition as at the time the same was first occupied by the
entered into on year to year basis? Why was the lease agreement renewed from year to year? Why did AFP, the lessee would have the "right and privilege" (or option) of paying the lessor what it would fairly
not the Republic expropriate this land of Castellvi in 1949 when, according to the Republic itself, it cost to put the premises in the same condition as it was at the commencement of the lease, in lieu of
expropriated the other parcels of land that it occupied at the same time as the Castellvi land, for the the lessee's performance of the undertaking to put the land in said condition. The "fair value" at the
purpose of converting them into a jet air base? 14 It might really have been the intention of the time of occupancy, mentioned in the lease agreement, does not refer to the value of the property if
Republic to expropriate the lands in question at some future time, but certainly mere notice - much less bought by the lessee, but refers to the cost of restoring the property in the same condition as of the
an implied notice of such intention on the part of the Republic to expropriate the lands in the future time when the lessee took possession of the property. Such fair value cannot refer to the purchase
did not, and could not, bind the landowner, nor bind the land itself. The expropriation must be actually price, for purchase was never intended by the parties to the lease contract. It is a rule in the
commenced in court (Republic vs. Baylosis, et al., 96 Phil. 461, 484). interpretation of contracts that "However general the terms of a contract may be, they shall not be
understood to comprehend things that are distinct and cases that are different from those upon which
Third, the entry into the property should be under warrant or color of legal authority. This circumstance the parties intended to agree" (Art. 1372, Civil Code).
in the "taking" may be considered as present in the instant case, because the Republic entered the
Castellvi property as lessee. We hold, therefore, that the "taking" of the Castellvi property should not be reckoned as of the year
1947 when the Republic first occupied the same pursuant to the contract of lease, and that the just
Fourth, the property must be devoted to a public use or otherwise informally appropriated or injuriously compensation to be paid for the Castellvi property should not be determined on the basis of the value
affected. It may be conceded that the circumstance of the property being devoted to public use is of the property as of that year. The lower court did not commit an error when it held that the "taking" of
present because the property was used by the air force of the AFP. the property under expropriation commenced with the filing of the complaint in this case.

Fifth, the utilization of the property for public use must be in such a way as to oust the owner and Under Section 4 of Rule 67 of the Rules of Court, 16 the "just compensation" is to be determined as of
deprive him of all beneficial enjoyment of the property. In the instant case, the entry of the Republic the date of the filing of the complaint. This Court has ruled that when the taking of the property sought
into the property and its utilization of the same for public use did not oust Castellvi and deprive her of to be expropriated coincides with the commencement of the expropriation proceedings, or takes place
all beneficial enjoyment of the property. Castellvi remained as owner, and was continuously recognized subsequent to the filing of the complaint for eminent domain, the just compensation should be
as owner by the Republic, as shown by the renewal of the lease contract from year to year, and by the determined as of the date of the filing of the complaint. (Republic vs. Philippine National Bank, L-14158,
provision in the lease contract whereby the Republic undertook to return the property to Castellvi when April 12, 1961, 1 SCRA 957, 961-962). In the instant case, it is undisputed that the Republic was placed
the lease was terminated. Neither was Castellvi deprived of all the beneficial enjoyment of the in possession of the Castellvi property, by authority of the court, on August 10, 1959. The "taking" of
property, because the Republic was bound to pay, and had been paying, Castellvi the agreed monthly the Castellvi property for the purposes of determining the just compensation to be paid must,
rentals until the time when it filed the complaint for eminent domain on June 26, 1959. therefore, be reckoned as of June 26, 1959 when the complaint for eminent domain was filed.

It is clear, therefore, that the "taking" of Catellvi's property for purposes of eminent domain cannot be Regarding the two parcels of land of Toledo-Gozun, also sought to be expropriated, which had never
considered to have taken place in 1947 when the Republic commenced to occupy the property as been under lease to the Republic, the Republic was placed in possession of said lands, also by authority
lessee thereof. We find merit in the contention of Castellvi that two essential elements in the "taking" of of the court, on August 10, 1959, The taking of those lands, therefore, must also be reckoned as of June
property under the power of eminent domain, namely: (1) that the entrance and occupation by the 26, 1959, the date of the filing of the complaint for eminent domain.
condemnor must be for a permanent, or indefinite period, and (2) that in devoting the property to
public use the owner was ousted from the property and deprived of its beneficial use, were not present 2. Regarding the first assigned error discussed as the second issue the Republic maintains
when the Republic entered and occupied the Castellvi property in 1947. that, even assuming that the value of the expropriated lands is to be determined as of June 26, 1959,
the price of P10.00 per square meter fixed by the lower court "is not only exhorbitant but also
Untenable also is the Republic's contention that although the contract between the parties was one of unconscionable, and almost fantastic". On the other hand, both Castellvi and Toledo-Gozun maintain
lease on a year to year basis, it was "in reality a more or less permanent right to occupy the premises that their lands are residential lands with a fair market value of not less than P15.00 per square meter.
under the guise of lease with the 'right and privilege' to buy the property should the lessor wish to
terminate the lease," and "the right to buy the property is merged as an integral part of the lease The lower court found, and declared, that the lands of Castellvi and Toledo-Gozun are residential lands.
relationship ... so much so that the fair market value has been agreed upon, not, as of the time of The finding of the lower court is in consonance with the unanimous opinion of the three commissioners
purchase, but as of the time of occupancy" 15 We cannot accept the Republic's contention that a lease who, in their report to the court, declared that the lands are residential lands.
on a year to year basis can give rise to a permanent right to occupy, since by express legal provision a
lease made for a determinate time, as was the lease of Castellvi's land in the instant case, ceases upon The Republic assails the finding that the lands are residential, contending that the plans of the
the day fixed, without need of a demand (Article 1669, Civil Code). Neither can it be said that the right appellees to convert the lands into subdivision for residential purposes were only on paper, there being
of eminent domain may be exercised by simply leasing the premises to be expropriated (Rule 67, no overt acts on the part of the appellees which indicated that the subdivision project had been
Section 1, Rules of Court). Nor can it be accepted that the Republic would enter into a contract of lease commenced, so that any compensation to be awarded on the basis of the plans would be speculative.
where its real intention was to buy, or why the Republic should enter into a simulated contract of lease The Republic's contention is not well taken. We find evidence showing that the lands in question had
("under the guise of lease", as expressed by counsel for the Republic) when all the time the Republic ceased to be devoted to the production of agricultural crops, that they had become adaptable for
had the right of eminent domain, and could expropriate Castellvi's land if it wanted to without resorting residential purposes, and that the appellees had actually taken steps to convert their lands into
to any guise whatsoever. Neither can we see how a right to buy could be merged in a contract of lease residential subdivisions even before the Republic filed the complaint for eminent domain. In the case of
in the absence of any agreement between the parties to that effect. To sustain the contention of the City of Manila vs. Corrales (32 Phil. 82, 98) this Court laid down basic guidelines in determining the
Republic is to sanction a practice whereby in order to secure a low price for a land which the value of the property expropriated for public purposes. This Court said:
government intends to expropriate (or would eventually expropriate) it would first negotiate with the
owner of the land to lease the land (for say ten or twenty years) then expropriate the same when the In determining the value of land appropriated for public purposes, the same consideration are to be
lease is about to terminate, then claim that the "taking" of the property for the purposes of the regarded as in a sale of property between private parties. The inquiry, in such cases, must be what is
expropriation be reckoned as of the date when the Government started to occupy the property under the property worth in the market, viewed not merely with reference to the uses to which it is at the
the lease, and then assert that the value of the property being expropriated be reckoned as of the start time applied, but with reference to the uses to which it is plainly adapted, that is to say, What is it
of the lease, in spite of the fact that the value of the property, for many good reasons, had in the worth from its availability for valuable uses?
meantime increased during the period of the lease. This would be sanctioning what obviously is a
So many and varied are the circumstances to be taken into account in determining the value of Narciso case, it is the stand of the Republic that the price that should be fixed for the lands now in
property condemned for public purposes, that it is practically impossible to formulate a rule to govern question should also be at P.20 per square meter.
its appraisement in all cases. Exceptional circumstances will modify the most carefully guarded rule,
but, as a general thing, we should say that the compensation of the owner is to be estimated by We can not sustain the stand of the Republic. We find that the price of P.20 per square meter, as fixed
reference to the use for which the property is suitable, having regard to the existing business or wants by this Court in the Narciso case, was based on the allegation of the defendants (owners) in their
of the community, or such as may be reasonably expected in the immediate future. (Miss. and Rum answer to the complaint for eminent domain in that case that the price of their lands was P2,000.00
River Boom Co. vs. Patterson, 98 U.S., 403). per hectare and that was the price that they asked the court to pay them. This Court said, then, that
the owners of the land could not be given more than what they had asked, notwithstanding the
In expropriation proceedings, therefore, the owner of the land has the right to its value for the use for recommendation of the majority of the Commission on Appraisal which was adopted by the trial
which it would bring the most in the market. 17 The owner may thus show every advantage that his court that the fair market value of the lands was P3,000.00 per hectare. We also find that the price
property possesses, present and prospective, in order that the price it could be sold for in the market of P.20 per square meter in the Narciso case was considered the fair market value of the lands as of the
may be satisfactorily determined. 18 The owner may also show that the property is suitable for division year 1949 when the expropriation proceedings were instituted, and at that time the lands were
into village or town lots. 19 classified as sugar lands, and assessed for taxation purposes at around P400.00 per hectare, or P.04
per square meter. 22 While the lands involved in the present case, like the lands involved in the Narciso
The trial court, therefore, correctly considered, among other circumstances, the proposed subdivision case, might have a fair market value of P.20 per square meter in 1949, it can not be denied that ten
plans of the lands sought to be expropriated in finding that those lands are residential lots. This finding years later, in 1959, when the present proceedings were instituted, the value of those lands had
of the lower court is supported not only by the unanimous opinion of the commissioners, as embodied increased considerably. The evidence shows that since 1949 those lands were no longer cultivated as
in their report, but also by the Provincial Appraisal Committee of the province of Pampanga composed sugar lands, and in 1959 those lands were already classified, and assessed for taxation purposes, as
of the Provincial Treasurer, the Provincial Auditor and the District Engineer. In the minutes of the residential lands. In 1959 the land of Castellvi was assessed at P1.00 per square meter. 23
meeting of the Provincial Appraisal Committee, held on May 14, 1959 (Exh. 13-Castellvi) We read in its
Resolution No. 10 the following: The Republic also points out that the Provincial Appraisal Committee of Pampanga, in its resolution No.
5 of February 15, 1957 (Exhibit D), recommended the sum of P.20 per square meter as the fair
3. Since 1957 the land has been classified as residential in view of its proximity to the air base valuation of the Castellvi property. We find that this resolution was made by the Republic the basis in
and due to the fact that it was not being devoted to agriculture. In fact, there is a plan to convert it into asking the court to fix the provisional value of the lands sought to be expropriated at P259,669.10,
a subdivision for residential purposes. The taxes due on the property have been paid based on its which was approved by the court. 24 It must be considered, however, that the amount fixed as the
classification as residential land; provisional value of the lands that are being expropriated does not necessarily represent the true and
correct value of the land. The value is only "provisional" or "tentative", to serve as the basis for the
The evidence shows that Castellvi broached the idea of subdividing her land into residential lots as immediate occupancy of the property being expropriated by the condemnor. The records show that this
early as July 11, 1956 in her letter to the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. (Exh. 5- resolution No. 5 was repealed by the same Provincial Committee on Appraisal in its resolution No. 10 of
Castellvi) As a matter of fact, the layout of the subdivision plan was tentatively approved by the May 14, 1959 (Exhibit 13-Castellvi). In that resolution No. 10, the appraisal committee stated that "The
National Planning Commission on September 7, 1956. (Exh. 8-Castellvi). The land of Castellvi had not Committee has observed that the value of the land in this locality has increased since 1957 ...", and
been devoted to agriculture since 1947 when it was leased to the Philippine Army. In 1957 said land recommended the price of P1.50 per square meter. It follows, therefore, that, contrary to the stand of
was classified as residential, and taxes based on its classification as residential had been paid since the Republic, that resolution No. 5 of the Provincial Appraisal Committee can not be made the basis for
then (Exh. 13-Castellvi). The location of the Castellvi land justifies its suitability for a residential fixing the fair market value of the lands of Castellvi and Toledo-Gozun.
subdivision. As found by the trial court, "It is at the left side of the entrance of the Basa Air Base and
bounded on two sides by roads (Exh. 13-Castellvi), paragraphs 1 and 2, Exh. 12-Castellvi), the The Republic further relied on the certification of the Acting Assistant Provincial Assessor of Pampanga,
poblacion, (of Floridablanca) the municipal building, and the Pampanga Sugar Mills are closed by. The dated February 8, 1961 (Exhibit K), to the effect that in 1950 the lands of Toledo-Gozun were classified
barrio schoolhouse and chapel are also near (T.S.N. November 23,1960, p. 68)." 20 partly as sugar land and partly as urban land, and that the sugar land was assessed at P.40 per square
meter, while part of the urban land was assessed at P.40 per square meter and part at P.20 per square
The lands of Toledo-Gozun (Lot 1-B and Lot 3) are practically of the same condition as the land of meter; and that in 1956 the Castellvi land was classified as sugar land and was assessed at P450.00
Castellvi. The lands of Toledo-Gozun adjoin the land of Castellvi. They are also contiguous to the Basa per hectare, or P.045 per square meter. We can not also consider this certification of the Acting
Air Base, and are along the road. These lands are near the barrio schoolhouse, the barrio chapel, the Assistant Provincial Assessor as a basis for fixing the fair market value of the lands of Castellvi and
Pampanga Sugar Mills, and the poblacion of Floridablanca (Exhs. 1, 3 and 4-Toledo-Gozun). As a matter Toledo-Gozun because, as the evidence shows, the lands in question, in 1957, were already classified
of fact, regarding lot 1-B it had already been surveyed and subdivided, and its conversion into a and assessed for taxation purposes as residential lands. The certification of the assessor refers to the
residential subdivision was tentatively approved by the National Planning Commission on July 8, 1959 year 1950 as far as the lands of Toledo-Gozun are concerned, and to the year 1956 as far as the land of
(Exhs. 5 and 6 Toledo-Gozun). As early as June, 1958, no less than 32 man connected with the Castellvi is concerned. Moreover, this Court has held that the valuation fixed for the purposes of the
Philippine Air Force among them commissioned officers, non-commission officers, and enlisted men had assessment of the land for taxation purposes can not bind the landowner where the latter did not
requested Mr. and Mrs. Joaquin D. Gozun to open a subdivision on their lands in question (Exhs. 8, 8-A intervene in fixing it. 25
to 8-ZZ-Toledo-Gozun). 21
On the other hand, the Commissioners, appointed by the court to appraise the lands that were being
We agree with the findings, and the conclusions, of the lower court that the lands that are the subject expropriated, recommended to the court that the price of P10.00 per square meter would be the fair
of expropriation in the present case, as of August 10, 1959 when the same were taken possession of by market value of the lands. The commissioners made their recommendation on the basis of their
the Republic, were residential lands and were adaptable for use as residential subdivisions. Indeed, the observation after several ocular inspections of the lands, of their own personal knowledge of land
owners of these lands have the right to their value for the use for which they would bring the most in values in the province of Pampanga, of the testimonies of the owners of the land, and other witnesses,
the market at the time the same were taken from them. The most important issue to be resolved in the and of documentary evidence presented by the appellees. Both Castellvi and Toledo-Gozun testified
present case relates to the question of what is the just compensation that should be paid to the that the fair market value of their respective land was at P15.00 per square meter. The documentary
appellees. evidence considered by the commissioners consisted of deeds of sale of residential lands in the town of
San Fernando and in Angeles City, in the province of Pampanga, which were sold at prices ranging from
The Republic asserts that the fair market value of the lands of the appellees is P.20 per square meter. P8.00 to P20.00 per square meter (Exhibits 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23-Castellvi). The
The Republic cites the case of Republic vs. Narciso, et al., L-6594, which this Court decided on May 18, commissioners also considered the decision in Civil Case No. 1531 of the Court of First Instance of
1956. The Narciso case involved lands that belonged to Castellvi and Toledo-Gozun, and to one Donata Pampanga, entitled Republic vs. Sabina Tablante, which was expropriation case filed on January 13,
Montemayor, which were expropriated by the Republic in 1949 and which are now the site of the Basa 1959, involving a parcel of land adjacent to the Clark Air Base in Angeles City, where the court fixed the
Air Base. In the Narciso case this Court fixed the fair market value at P.20 per square meter. The lands price at P18.00 per square meter (Exhibit 14-Castellvi). In their report, the commissioners, among other
that are sought to be expropriated in the present case being contiguous to the lands involved in the things, said:
... This expropriation case is specially pointed out, because the circumstances and factors involved Provincial Committee on Appraisal of the province of Pampanga informing, among others, that in the
therein are similar in many respects to the defendants' lands in this case. The land in Civil Case No. year 1959 the land of Castellvi could be sold for from P3.00 to P4.00 per square meter, while the land
1531 of this Court and the lands in the present case (Civil Case No. 1623) are both near the air bases, of Toledo-Gozun could be sold for from P2.50 to P3.00 per square meter. The Court has weighed all the
the Clark Air Base and the Basa Air Base respectively. There is a national road fronting them and are circumstances relating to this expropriations proceedings, and in fixing the price of the lands that are
situated in a first-class municipality. As added advantage it may be said that the Basa Air Base land is being expropriated the Court arrived at a happy medium between the price as recommended by the
very near the sugar mill at Del Carmen, Floridablanca, Pampanga, owned by the Pampanga Sugar Mills. commissioners and approved by the court, and the price advocated by the Republic. This Court has
Also just stone's throw away from the same lands is a beautiful vacation spot at Palacol, a sitio of the also taken judicial notice of the fact that the value of the Philippine peso has considerably gone down
town of Floridablanca, which counts with a natural swimming pool for vacationists on weekends. These since the year 1959. 30 Considering that the lands of Castellvi and Toledo-Gozun are adjoining each
advantages are not found in the case of the Clark Air Base. The defendants' lands are nearer to the other, and are of the same nature, the Court has deemed it proper to fix the same price for all these
poblacion of Floridablanca then Clark Air Base is nearer (sic) to the poblacion of Angeles, Pampanga. lands.

The deeds of absolute sale, according to the undersigned commissioners, as well as the land in Civil 3. The third issue raised by the Republic relates to the payment of interest. The Republic
Case No. 1531 are competent evidence, because they were executed during the year 1959 and before maintains that the lower court erred when it ordered the Republic to pay Castellvi interest at the rate of
August 10 of the same year. More specifically so the land at Clark Air Base which coincidentally is the 6% per annum on the total amount adjudged as the value of the land of Castellvi, from July 1, 1956 to
subject matter in the complaint in said Civil Case No. 1531, it having been filed on January 13, 1959 July 10, 1959. We find merit in this assignment of error.
and the taking of the land involved therein was ordered by the Court of First Instance of Pampanga on
January 15, 1959, several months before the lands in this case were taken by the plaintiffs .... In ordering the Republic to pay 6% interest on the total value of the land of Castellvi from July 1, 1956
to July 10, 1959, the lower court held that the Republic had illegally possessed the land of Castellvi
From the above and considering further that the lowest as well as the highest price per square meter from July 1, 1956, after its lease of the land had expired on June 30, 1956, until August 10, 1959 when
obtainable in the market of Pampanga relative to subdivision lots within its jurisdiction in the year 1959 the Republic was placed in possession of the land pursuant to the writ of possession issued by the
is very well known by the Commissioners, the Commission finds that the lowest price that can be court. What really happened was that the Republic continued to occupy the land of Castellvi after the
awarded to the lands in question is P10.00 per square meter. 26 expiration of its lease on June 30, 1956, so much so that Castellvi filed an ejectment case against the
Republic in the Court of First Instance of Pampanga. 31 However, while that ejectment case was
The lower court did not altogether accept the findings of the Commissioners based on the documentary pending, the Republic filed the complaint for eminent domain in the present case and was placed in
evidence, but it considered the documentary evidence as basis for comparison in determining land possession of the land on August 10, 1959, and because of the institution of the expropriation
values. The lower court arrived at the conclusion that "the unanimous recommendation of the proceedings the ejectment case was later dismissed. In the order dismissing the ejectment case, the
commissioners of ten (P10.00) pesos per square meter for the three lots of the defendants subject of Court of First Instance of Pampanga said:
this action is fair and just". 27 In arriving at its conclusion, the lower court took into consideration,
among other circumstances, that the lands are titled, that there is a rising trend of land values, and the Plaintiff has agreed, as a matter of fact has already signed an agreement with defendants, whereby she
lowered purchasing power of the Philippine peso. had agreed to receive the rent of the lands, subject matter of the instant case from June 30, 1956 up to
1959 when the Philippine Air Force was placed in possession by virtue of an order of the Court upon
In the case of Manila Railroad Co. vs. Caligsihan, 40 Phil. 326, 328, this Court said: depositing the provisional amount as fixed by the Provincial Appraisal Committee with the Provincial
Treasurer of
A court of first instance or, on appeal, the Supreme Court, may change or modify the report of the Pampanga; ...
commissioners by increasing or reducing the amount of the award if the facts of the case so justify.
While great weight is attached to the report of the commissioners, yet a court may substitute therefor If Castellvi had agreed to receive the rentals from June 30, 1956 to August 10, 1959, she should be
its estimate of the value of the property as gathered from the record in certain cases, as, where the considered as having allowed her land to be leased to the Republic until August 10, 1959, and she
commissioners have applied illegal principles to the evidence submitted to them, or where they have could not at the same time be entitled to the payment of interest during the same period on the
disregarded a clear preponderance of evidence, or where the amount allowed is either palpably amount awarded her as the just compensation of her land. The Republic, therefore, should pay Castellvi
inadequate or excessive. 28 interest at the rate of 6% per annum on the value of her land, minus the provisional value that was
deposited, only from July 10, 1959 when it deposited in court the provisional value of the land.
The report of the commissioners of appraisal in condemnation proceedings are not binding, but merely
advisory in character, as far as the court is concerned. 29 In our analysis of the report of the 4. The fourth error assigned by the Republic relates to the denial by the lower court of its
commissioners, We find points that merit serious consideration in the determination of the just motion for a new trial based on nearly discovered evidence. We do not find merit in this assignment of
compensation that should be paid to Castellvi and Toledo-Gozun for their lands. It should be noted that error.
the commissioners had made ocular inspections of the lands and had considered the nature and
similarities of said lands in relation to the lands in other places in the province of Pampanga, like San After the lower court had decided this case on May 26, 1961, the Republic filed a motion for a new trial,
Fernando and Angeles City. We cannot disregard the observations of the commissioners regarding the supplemented by another motion, both based upon the ground of newly discovered evidence. The
circumstances that make the lands in question suited for residential purposes their location near the alleged newly discovered evidence in the motion filed on June 21, 1961 was a deed of absolute sale-
Basa Air Base, just like the lands in Angeles City that are near the Clark Air Base, and the facilities that executed on January 25, 1961, showing that a certain Serafin Francisco had sold to Pablo L. Narciso a
obtain because of their nearness to the big sugar central of the Pampanga Sugar mills, and to the parcel of sugar land having an area of 100,000 square meters with a sugar quota of 100 piculs, covered
flourishing first class town of Floridablanca. It is true that the lands in question are not in the territory of by P.A. No. 1701, situated in Barrio Fortuna, Floridablanca, for P14,000, or P.14 per square meter.
San Fernando and Angeles City, but, considering the facilities of modern communications, the town of
Floridablanca may be considered practically adjacent to San Fernando and Angeles City. It is not out of In the supplemental motion, the alleged newly discovered evidence were: (1) a deed of sale of some
place, therefore, to compare the land values in Floridablanca to the land values in San Fernando and 35,000 square meters of land situated at Floridablanca for P7,500.00 (or about P.21 per square meter)
Angeles City, and form an idea of the value of the lands in Floridablanca with reference to the land executed in July, 1959, by the spouses Evelyn D. Laird and Cornelio G. Laird in favor of spouses
values in those two other communities. Bienvenido S. Aguas and Josefina Q. Aguas; and (2) a deed of absolute sale of a parcel of land having
an area of 4,120,101 square meters, including the sugar quota covered by Plantation Audit No. 161
The important factor in expropriation proceeding is that the owner is awarded the just compensation 1345, situated at Floridablanca, Pampanga, for P860.00 per hectare (a little less than P.09 per square
for his property. We have carefully studied the record, and the evidence, in this case, and after meter) executed on October 22, 1957 by Jesus Toledo y Mendoza in favor of the Land Tenure
considering the circumstances attending the lands in question We have arrived at the conclusion that Administration.
the price of P10.00 per square meter, as recommended by the commissioners and adopted by the
lower court, is quite high. It is Our considered view that the price of P5.00 per square meter would be a We find that the lower court acted correctly when it denied the motions for a new trial.
fair valuation of the lands in question and would constitute a just compensation to the owners thereof.
In arriving at this conclusion We have particularly taken into consideration the resolution of the
To warrant the granting of a new trial based on the ground of newly discovered evidence, it must sale and moved for a reopening to adduce further evidence. He did not do so. He forgot to present the
appear that the evidence was discovered after the trial; that even with the exercise of due diligence, evidence at a more propitious time. Now, he seeks to introduce said evidence under the guise of newly-
the evidence could not have been discovered and produced at the trial; and that the evidence is of discovered evidence. Unfortunately the Court cannot classify it as newly-discovered evidence, because
such a nature as to alter the result of the case if admitted. 32 The lower court correctly ruled that these tinder the circumstances, the correct qualification that can be given is 'forgotten evidence'. Forgotten
requisites were not complied with. however, is not newly-discovered
evidence. 33
The lower court, in a well-reasoned order, found that the sales made by Serafin Francisco to Pablo
Narciso and that made by Jesus Toledo to the Land Tenure Administration were immaterial and The granting or denial of a motion for new trial is, as a general rule, discretionary with the trial court,
irrelevant, because those sales covered sugarlands with sugar quotas, while the lands sought to be whose judgment should not be disturbed unless there is a clear showing of abuse of discretion. 34 We
expropriated in the instant case are residential lands. The lower court also concluded that the land sold do not see any abuse of discretion on the part of the lower court when it denied the motions for a new
by the spouses Laird to the spouses Aguas was a sugar land. trial.

We agree with the trial court. In eminent domain proceedings, in order that evidence as to the sale WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is modified, as follows:
price of other lands may be admitted in evidence to prove the fair market value of the land sought to
be expropriated, the lands must, among other things, be shown to be similar. (a) the lands of appellees Carmen Vda. de Castellvi and Maria Nieves Toledo-Gozun, as
described in the complaint, are declared expropriated for public use;
But even assuming, gratia argumenti, that the lands mentioned in those deeds of sale were residential,
the evidence would still not warrant the grant of a new trial, for said evidence could have been (b) the fair market value of the lands of the appellees is fixed at P5.00 per square meter;
discovered and produced at the trial, and they cannot be considered newly discovered evidence as
contemplated in Section 1(b) of Rule 37 of the Rules of Court. Regarding this point, the trial court said: (c) the Republic must pay appellee Castellvi the sum of P3,796,495.00 as just compensation for
her one parcel of land that has an area of 759,299 square meters, minus the sum of P151,859.80 that
The Court will now show that there was no reasonable diligence employed. she withdrew out of the amount that was deposited in court as the provisional value of the land, with
interest at the rate of 6% per annum from July 10, 1959 until the day full payment is made or deposited
The land described in the deed of sale executed by Serafin Francisco, copy of which is attached to the in court;
original motion, is covered by a Certificate of Title issued by the Office of the Register of Deeds of
Pampanga. There is no question in the mind of the court but this document passed through the Office (d) the Republic must pay appellee Toledo-Gozun the sum of P2,695,225.00 as the just
of the Register of Deeds for the purpose of transferring the title or annotating the sale on the certificate compensation for her two parcels of land that have a total area of 539,045 square meters, minus the
of title. It is true that Fiscal Lagman went to the Office of the Register of Deeds to check conveyances sum of P107,809.00 that she withdrew out of the amount that was deposited in court as the provisional
which may be presented in the evidence in this case as it is now sought to be done by virtue of the value of her lands, with interest at the rate of 6%, per annum from July 10, 1959 until the day full
motions at bar, Fiscal Lagman, one of the lawyers of the plaintiff, did not exercise reasonable diligence payment is made or deposited in court; (e) the attorney's lien of Atty. Alberto Cacnio is enforced; and
as required by the rules. The assertion that he only went to the office of the Register of Deeds 'now and
then' to check the records in that office only shows the half-hazard [sic] manner by which the plaintiff (f) the costs should be paid by appellant Republic of the Philippines, as provided in Section 12,
looked for evidence to be presented during the hearing before the Commissioners, if it is at all true that Rule 67, and in Section 13, Rule 141, of the Rules of Court.
Fiscal Lagman did what he is supposed to have done according to Solicitor Padua. It would have been
the easiest matter for plaintiff to move for the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum directing the IT IS SO ORDERED.
Register of Deeds of Pampanga to come to testify and to bring with him all documents found in his
office pertaining to sales of land in Floridablanca adjacent to or near the lands in question executed or
recorded from 1958 to the present. Even this elementary precaution was not done by plaintiff's
numerous attorneys.

The same can be said of the deeds of sale attached to the supplementary motion. They refer to lands
covered by certificate of title issued by the Register of Deeds of Pampanga. For the same reason they
could have been easily discovered if reasonable diligence has been exerted by the numerous lawyers
of the plaintiff in this case. It is noteworthy that all these deeds of sale could be found in several
government offices, namely, in the Office of the Register of Deeds of Pampanga, the Office of the
Provincial Assessor of Pampanga, the Office of the Clerk of Court as a part of notarial reports of notaries
public that acknowledged these documents, or in the archives of the National Library. In respect to
Annex 'B' of the supplementary motion copy of the document could also be found in the Office of the
Land Tenure Administration, another government entity. Any lawyer with a modicum of ability handling
this expropriation case would have right away though [sic] of digging up documents diligently showing
conveyances of lands near or around the parcels of land sought to be expropriated in this case in the
offices that would have naturally come to his mind such as the offices mentioned above, and had
counsel for the movant really exercised the reasonable diligence required by the Rule' undoubtedly
they would have been able to find these documents and/or caused the issuance of subpoena duces
tecum. ...

It is also recalled that during the hearing before the Court of the Report and Recommendation of the
Commissioners and objection thereto, Solicitor Padua made the observation:

I understand, Your Honor, that there was a sale that took place in this place of land recently where the
land was sold for P0.20 which is contiguous to this land.

The Court gave him permission to submit said document subject to the approval of the Court. ... This
was before the decision was rendered, and later promulgated on May 26, 1961 or more than one month
after Solicitor Padua made the above observation. He could have, therefore, checked up the alleged
the area involved in the construction of Mango Avenue, plaintiff had no cause of action against the
defendants.

During the scheduled hearings nobody appeared for the defendants notwithstanding due notice, so the
trial court proceeded to receive the plaintiff's evidence ex parte. On July 29, 1959 said court rendered
its decision holding that it had no jurisdiction over the plaintiff's cause of action for the recovery of
possession and ownership of the portion of her lot in question on the ground that the government
cannot be sued without its consent; that it had neither original nor appellate jurisdiction to hear, try
and decide plaintiff's claim for compensatory damages in the sum of P50,000.00, the same being a
money claim against the government; and that the claim for moral damages had long prescribed, nor
did it have jurisdiction over said claim because the government had not given its consent to be sued.
Accordingly, the complaint was dismissed. Unable to secure a reconsideration, the plaintiff appealed to
the Court of Appeals, which subsequently certified the case to Us, there being no question of fact
involved.

The issue here is whether or not the appellant may properly sue the government under the facts of the
case.

In the case of Ministerio vs. Court of First Instance of Cebu, 1 involving a claim for payment of the value
of a portion of land used for the widening of the Gorordo Avenue in Cebu City, this Court, through Mr.
VICTORIA AMIGABLE, plaintiff-appellant, Justice Enrique M. Fernando, held that where the government takes away property from a private
vs. landowner for public use without going through the legal process of expropriation or negotiated sale,
NICOLAS CUENCA, as Commissioner of Public Highways and REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, the aggrieved party may properly maintain a suit against the government without thereby violating the
defendants-appellees. doctrine of governmental immunity from suit without its consent. We there said: .

... . If the constitutional mandate that the owner be compensated for property taken for public use were
to be respected, as it should, then a suit of this character should not be summarily dismissed. The
doctrine of governmental immunity from suit cannot serve as an instrument for perpetrating an
MAKALINTAL, J.:p
injustice on a citizen. Had the government followed the procedure indicated by the governing law at
the time, a complaint would have been filed by it, and only upon payment of the compensation fixed by
This is an appeal from the decision of the Court of First Instance of Cebu in its Civil Case No. R-5977,
the judgment, or after tender to the party entitled to such payment of the amount fixed, may it "have
dismissing the plaintiff's complaint.
the right to enter in and upon the land so condemned, to appropriate the same to the public use
defined in the judgment." If there were an observance of procedural regularity, petitioners would not be
Victoria Amigable, the appellant herein, is the registered owner of Lot No. 639 of the Banilad Estate in
in the sad plaint they are now. It is unthinkable then that precisely because there was a failure to abide
Cebu City as shown by Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-18060, which superseded Transfer Certificate of
by what the law requires, the government would stand to benefit. It is just as important, if not more so,
Title No. RT-3272 (T-3435) issued to her by the Register of Deeds of Cebu on February 1, 1924. No
that there be fidelity to legal norms on the part of officialdom if the rule of law were to be maintained.
annotation in favor of the government of any right or interest in the property appears at the back of the
It is not too much to say that when the government takes any property for public use, which is
certificate. Without prior expropriation or negotiated sale, the government used a portion of said lot,
conditioned upon the payment of just compensation, to be judicially ascertained, it makes manifest
with an area of 6,167 square meters, for the construction of the Mango and Gorordo Avenues.
that it submits to the jurisdiction of a court. There is no thought then that the doctrine of immunity
from suit could still be appropriately invoked.
It appears that said avenues were already existing in 1921 although "they were in bad condition and
very narrow, unlike the wide and beautiful avenues that they are now," and "that the tracing of said
Considering that no annotation in favor of the government appears at the back of her certificate of title
roads was begun in 1924, and the formal construction in
and that she has not executed any deed of conveyance of any portion of her lot to the government, the
1925." *
appellant remains the owner of the whole lot. As registered owner, she could bring an action to recover
possession of the portion of land in question at anytime because possession is one of the attributes of
On March 27, 1958 Amigable's counsel wrote the President of the Philippines, requesting payment of
ownership. However, since restoration of possession of said portion by the government is neither
the portion of her lot which had been appropriated by the government. The claim was indorsed to the
convenient nor feasible at this time because it is now and has been used for road purposes, the only
Auditor General, who disallowed it in his 9th Indorsement dated December 9, 1958. A copy of said
relief available is for the government to make due compensation which it could and should have done
indorsement was transmitted to Amigable's counsel by the Office of the President on January 7, 1959.
years ago. To determine the due compensation for the land, the basis should be the price or value
thereof at the time of the taking. 2
On February 6, 1959 Amigable filed in the court a quo a complaint, which was later amended on April
17, 1959 upon motion of the defendants, against the Republic of the Philippines and Nicolas Cuenca, in
As regards the claim for damages, the plaintiff is entitled thereto in the form of legal interest on the
his capacity as Commissioner of Public Highways for the recovery of ownership and possession of the
price of the land from the time it was taken up to the time that payment is made by the government. 3
6,167 square meters of land traversed by the Mango and Gorordo Avenues. She also sought the
In addition, the government should pay for attorney's fees, the amount of which should be fixed by the
payment of compensatory damages in the sum of P50,000.00 for the illegal occupation of her land,
trial court after hearing.
moral damages in the sum of P25,000.00, attorney's fees in the sum of P5,000.00 and the costs of the
suit.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby set aside and the case remanded to the court a quo
for the determination of compensation, including attorney's fees, to which the appellant is entitled as
Within the reglementary period the defendants filed a joint answer denying the material allegations of
above indicated. No pronouncement as to costs.
the complaint and interposing the following affirmative defenses, to wit: (1) that the action was
premature, the claim not having been filed first with the Office of the Auditor General; (2) that the right
of action for the recovery of any amount which might be due the plaintiff, if any, had already
prescribed; (3) that the action being a suit against the Government, the claim for moral damages,
attorney's fees and costs had no valid basis since as to these items the Government had not given its
consent to be sued; and (4) that inasmuch as it was the province of Cebu that appropriated and used
candidates for the same office. All candidates concerned shall be furnished a copy of the allocation of
"Comelec Space" for their information, guidance and compliance.

(b) Any candidate desiring to avail himself of "Comelec Space" from newspapers or publications
based in the Metropolitan Manila Area shall submit an application therefor, in writing, to the Committee
on Mass Media of the Commission. Any candidate desiring to avail himself of "Comelec Space" in
newspapers or publications based in the provinces shall submit his application therefor, in writing, to
the Provincial Election Supervisor concerned. Applications for availment of "Comelec Space" maybe
filed at any time from the date of effectivity of this Resolution.

(c) The Committee on Mass Media and the Provincial Election Supervisors shall allocate available
"Comelec Space" among the candidates concerned by lottery of which said candidates shall be notified
in advance, in writing, to be present personally or by representative to witness the lottery at the date,
time and place specified in the notice. Any party objecting to the result of the lottery may appeal to the
Commission.

(d) The candidates concerned shall be notified by the Committee on Mass Media or the Provincial
Election Supervisor, as the case maybe, sufficiently in advance and in writing of the date of issue and
the newspaper or publication allocated to him, and the time within which he must submit the written
material for publication in the "Comelec Space".

Sec. 8. Undue Reference to Candidates/Political Parties in Newspapers. No newspaper or


publication shall allow to be printed or published in the news, opinion, features, or other sections of the
newspaper or publication accounts or comments which manifestly favor or oppose any candidate or
political party by unduly or repeatedly referring to or including therein said candidate or political party.
However, unless the facts and circumstances clearly indicate otherwise, the Commission will respect
the determination by the publisher and/or editors of the newspapers or publications that the accounts
or views published are significant, newsworthy and of public interest. (Emphasis supplied)

Apparently in implementation of this Resolution, Comelec through Commissioner Regalado E.


Maambong sent identical letters, dated 22 March 1995, to various publishers of newspapers like the
Business World, the Philippine Star, the Malaya and the Philippine Times Journal, all members of PPI.
These letters read as follows:

This is to advise you that pursuant to Resolution No. 2772 of the Commission on Elections, you are
directed to provide free print space of not less than one half (1/2) page for use as "Comelec Space" or
similar to the print support which you have extended during the May 11, 1992 synchronized elections
which was 2 full pages for each political party fielding senatorial candidates, from March 6, 1995 to
PHILIPPINE PRESS INSTITUTE, INC., for and in behalf of 139 members, represented by its May 6, 1995, to make known their qualifications, their stand on public issues and their platforms and
President, Amado P. Macasaet and its Executive Director Ermin F. Garcia, Jr., petitioner, vs. programs of government.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent.
We shall be informing the political parties and candidates to submit directly to you their pictures,
The Philippine Press Institute, Inc. ("PPI") is before this Court assailing the constitutional validity of biographical data, stand on key public issues and platforms of government either as raw data or in the
Resolution No. 2772 issued by respondent Commission on Elections ("Comelec") and its corresponding form of positives or camera-ready materials.
Comelec directive dated 22 March 1995, through a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition. Petitioner PPI
is a non-stock, non-profit organization of newspaper and magazine publishers. Please be reminded that the political parties/candidates may be accommodated in your publication any
day upon receipt of their materials until May 6, 1995 which is the last day for campaigning.
On 2 March 1995, Comelec promulgated Resolution No. 2772, which reads in part:
We trust you to extend your full support and cooperation in this regard. (Emphasis supplied)
Sec. 2. Comelec Space. The Commission shall procure free print space of not less than one half
(1/2) page in at least one newspaper of general circulation in every province or city for use as In this Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with prayer for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining
"Comelec Space" from March 6, 1995 in the case of candidates for senator and from March 21, 1995 Order, PPI asks us to declare Comelec Resolution No. 2772 unconstitutional and void on the ground that
until May 12, 1995. In the absence of said newspaper, "Comelec Space" shall be obtained from any it violates the prohibition imposed by the Constitution upon the government, and any of its agencies,
magazine or periodical of said province or city. against the taking of private property for public use without just compensation. Petitioner also
contends that the 22 March 1995 letter directives of Comelec requiring publishers to give free
Sec. 3. Uses of Comelec Space. "Comelec Space" shall be allocated by the Commission, free of "Comelec Space" and at the same time process raw data to make it camera-ready, constitute
charge, among all candidates within the area in which the newspaper, magazine or periodical is impositions of involuntary servitude, contrary to the provisions of Section 18 (2), Article III of the 1987
circulated to enable the candidates to make known their qualifications, their stand on public issues and Constitution. Finally, PPI argues that Section 8 of Comelec Resolution No. 2772 is violative of the
their platforms and programs of government. constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech, of the press and of expression. 1

"Comelec Space" shall also be used by the Commission for dissemination of vital election information. On 20 April 1995, this Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order enjoining Comelec from enforcing
and implementing Section 2 of Resolution No. 2772, as well as the Comelec directives addressed to
Sec. 4. Allocation of Comelec Space. (a) "Comelec Space" shall also be available to all candidates various print media enterprises all dated 22 March 1995. The Court also required the respondent to file
during the periods stated in Section 2 hereof. Its allocation shall be equal and impartial among all a Comment on the Petition.
The Office of the Solicitor General filed its Comment on behalf of respondent Comelec alleging that imposition of, criminal or other sanctions for disregard of such directions, only aggravates the
Comelec Resolution No. 2772 does not impose upon the publishers any obligation to provide free print constitutional difficulties inhearing in the present situation. The enactment or addition of such
space in the newspapers as it does not provide any criminal or administrative sanction for non- sanctions by the legislative authority itself would be open to serious constitutional objection.
compliance with that Resolution. According to the Solicitor General, the questioned Resolution merely
established guidelines to be followed in connection with the procurement of "Comelec space," the To compel print media companies to donate "Comelec-space" of the dimensions specified in Section 2
procedure for and mode of allocation of such space to candidates and the conditions or requirements of Resolution No. 2772 (not less than one-half page), amounts to "taking" of private personal property
for the candidate's utilization of the "Comelec space" procured. At the same time, however, the for public use or purposes. Section 2 failed to specify the intended frequency of such compulsory
Solicitor General argues that even if the questioned Resolution and its implementing letter directives "donation:" only once during the period from 6 March 1995 (or 21 March 1995) until 12 May 1995? or
are viewed as mandatory, the same would nevertheless be valid as an exercise of the police power of everyday or once a week? or as often as Comelec may direct during the same period? The extent of the
the State. The Solicitor General also maintains that Section 8 of Resolution No. 2772 is a permissible taking or deprivation is not insubstantial; this is not a case of a de minimis temporary limitation or
exercise of the power of supervision or regulation of the Comelec over the communication and restraint upon the use of private property. The monetary value of the compulsory "donation," measured
information operations of print media enterprises during the election period to safeguard and ensure a by the advertising rates ordinarily charged by newspaper publishers whether in cities or in non-urban
fair, impartial and credible election. 2 areas, may be very substantial indeed.

At the oral hearing of this case held on 28 April 1995, respondent Comelec through its Chairman, Hon. The taking of print space here sought to be effected may first be appraised under the rubric of
Bernardo Pardo, in response to inquiries from the Chief Justice and other Members of the Court, stated expropriation of private personal property for public use. The threshold requisites for a lawful taking of
that Resolution No. 2772, particularly Section 2 thereof and the 22 March 1995 letters dispatched to private property for public use need to be examined here: one is the necessity for the taking; another is
various members of petitioner PPI, were not intended to compel those members to supply Comelec the legal authority to effect the taking. The element of necessity for the taking has not been shown by
with free print space. Chairman Pardo represented to the Court that Resolution and the related letter- respondent Comelec. It has not been suggested that the members of PPI are unwilling to sell print
directives were merely designed to solicit from the publishers the same free print space which many space at their normal rates to Comelec for election purposes. Indeed, the unwillingness or reluctance of
publishers had voluntarily given to Comelec during the election period relating to the 11 May 1992 Comelec to buy print space lies at the heart of the problem. 3 Similarly, it has not been suggested, let
elections. Indeed, the Chairman stated that the Comelec would, that very afternoon, meet and adopt alone demonstrated, that Comelec has been granted the power of eminent domain either by the
an appropriate amending or clarifying resolution, a certified true copy of which would forthwith be filed Constitution or by the legislative authority. A reasonable relationship between that power and the
with the Court. enforcement and administration of election laws by Comelec must be shown; it is not casually to be
assumed.
On 5 May 1995, the Court received from the Office of the Solicitor General a manifestation which
attached a copy of Comelec Resolution No. 2772-A dated 4 May 1995. The operative portion of this That the taking is designed to subserve "public use" is not contested by petitioner PPI. We note only
Resolution follows: that, under Section 3 of Resolution No. 2772, the free "Comelec space" sought by the respondent
Commission would be used not only for informing the public about the identities, qualifications and
NOW THEREFORE, pursuant to the powers vested in it by the Constitution, the Omnibus Election Code, programs of government of candidates for elective office but also for "dissemination of vital election
Republic Acts No. 6646 and 7166 and other election laws, the Commission on Elections RESOLVED to information" (including, presumably, circulars, regulations, notices, directives, etc. issued by Comelec).
clarify Sections 2 and 8 of Res. No. 2772 as follows: It seems to the Court a matter of judicial notice that government offices and agencies (including the
Supreme Court) simply purchase print space, in the ordinary course of events, when their rules and
1. Section 2 of Res. No. 2772 shall not be construed to mean as requiring publishers of the regulations, circulars, notices and so forth need officially to be brought to the attention of the general
different mass media print publications to provide print space under pain of prosecution, whether public.
administrative, civil or criminal, there being no sanction or penalty for violation of said Section provided
for either in said Resolution or in Section 90 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881, otherwise known as the The taking of private property for public use is, of course, authorized by the Constitution, but not
Omnibus Election Code, on the grant of "Comelec space." without payment of "just compensation" (Article III, Section 9). And apparently the necessity of paying
compensation for "Comelec space" is precisely what is sought to be avoided by respondent
2. Section 8 of Res. No. 2772 shall not be construed to mean as constituting prior restraint on Commission, whether Section 2 of Resolution No. 2772 is read as petitioner PPI reads it, as an assertion
the part of publishers with respect to the printing or publication of materials in the news, opinion, of authority to require newspaper publishers to "donate" free print space for Comelec purposes, or as
features or other sections of their respective publications or other accounts or comments, it being clear an exhortation, or perhaps an appeal, to publishers to donate free print space, as Section 1 of
from the last sentence of said Section 8 that the Commission shall, "unless the facts and circumstances Resolution No. 2772-A attempts to suggest. There is nothing at all to prevent newspaper and magazine
clearly indicate otherwise . . . respect the determination by the publisher and/or editors of the publishers from voluntarily giving free print space to Comelec for the purposes contemplated in
newspapers or publications that the accounts or views published are significant, newsworthy and of Resolution No. 2772. Section 2 of Resolution No. 2772 does not, however, provide a constitutional basis
public interest." for compelling publishers, against their will, in the kind of factual context here present, to provide free
print space for Comelec purposes. Section 2 does not constitute a valid exercise of the power of
This Resolution shall take effect upon approval. (Emphasis in the original) eminent domain.

While, at this point, the Court could perhaps simply dismiss the Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition as We would note that the ruling here laid down by the Court is entirely in line with the theory of
having become moot and academic, we consider it not inappropriate to pass upon the first democratic representative government. The economic costs of informing the general public about the
constitutional issue raised in this case. Our hope is to put this issue to rest and prevent its resurrection. qualifications and programs of those seeking elective office are most appropriately distributed as
widely as possible throughout our society by the utilization of public funds, especially funds raised by
Section 2 of Resolution No. 2772 is not a model of clarity in expression. Section 1 of Resolution No. taxation, rather than cast solely on one small sector of society, i.e., print media enterprises. The
2772-A did not try to redraft Section 2; accordingly, Section 2 of Resolution No. 2772 persists in its benefits which flow from a heightened level of information on and the awareness of the electoral
original form. Thus, we must point out that, as presently worded, and in particular as interpreted and process are commonly thought to be community-wide; the burdens should be allocated on the same
applied by the Comelec itself in its 22 March 1995 letter-directives to newspaper publishers, Section 2 basis.
of Resolution No. 2772 is clearly susceptible of the reading that petitioner PPI has given it. That
Resolution No. 2772 does not, in express terms, threaten publishers who would disregard it or its As earlier noted, the Solicitor General also contended that Section 2 of Resolution No. 2772, even if
implementing letters with some criminal or other sanction, does not by itself demonstrate that the read as compelling publishers to "donate" "Comelec space, " may be sustained as a valid exercise of
Comelec's original intention was simply to solicit or request voluntary donations of print space from the police power of the state. This argument was, however, made too casually to require prolonged
publishers. A written communication officially directing a print media company to supply free print consideration on our part. Firstly, there was no effort (and apparently no inclination on the part of
space, dispatched by a government (here a constitutional) agency and signed by a member of the Comelec) to show that the police power essentially a power of legislation has been
Commission presumably legally authorized to do so, is bound to produce a coercive effect upon the constitutionally delegated to respondent Commission. 4 Secondly, while private property may indeed
company so addressed. That the agency may not be legally authorized to impose, or cause the
be validly taken in the legitimate exercise of the police power of the state, there was no attempt to
show compliance in the instant case with the requisites of a lawful taking under the police power. 5 supervise or regulate the enjoyment or utilization of all franchise or permits for the operation of
media of communication or information [for the purpose of ensuring] equal opportunity, time and
Section 2 of Resolution No. 2772 is a blunt and heavy instrument that purports, without a showing of space, and the right of reply, including reasonable, equal rates therefore, for public information
existence of a national emergency or other imperious public necessity, indiscriminately and without campaigns and forums among candidates in connection with the objective of holding free, orderly
regard to the individual business condition of particular newspapers or magazines located in differing honest, peaceful and credible elections is not ripe for judicial review for lack of an actual case or
parts of the country, to take private property of newspaper or magazine publishers. No attempt was controversy involving, as the very lis mota thereof, the constitutionality of Section 8.
made to demonstrate that a real and palpable or urgent necessity for the taking of print space
confronted the Comelec and that Section 2 of Resolution No. 2772 was itself the only reasonable and Summarizing our conclusions:
calibrated response to such necessity available to the Comelec. Section 2 does not constitute a valid 1. Section 2 of Resolution No. 2772, in its present form and as interpreted by Comelec in its 22
exercise of the police power of the State. March 1995 letter directives, purports to require print media enterprises to "donate" free print space to
Comelec. As such, Section 2 suffers from a fatal constitutional vice and must be set aside and nullified.
We turn to Section 8 of Resolution No. 2772, which needs to be quoted in full again: 2. To the extent it pertains to Section 8 of Resolution No. 2772, the Petition for Certiorari and
Prohibition must be dismissed for lack of an actual, justiciable case or controversy.
Sec. 8. Undue Reference to Candidates/Political Parties in Newspapers. No newspaper or
publication shall allow to be printed or published in the news, opinion, features, or other sections of the WHEREFORE, for all the foregoing, the Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition is GRANTED in part and
newspaper or publication accounts or comments which manifestly favor or oppose any candidate or Section 2 of Resolution No. 2772 in its present form and the related letter-directives dated 22 March
political party by unduly or repeatedly referring to or including therein said candidate or political party. 1995 are hereby SET ASIDE as null and void, and the Temporary Restraining Order is hereby MADE
However, unless the facts and circumstances clearly indicate otherwise, the Commission will respect PERMANENT. The Petition is DISMISSED in part, to the extent it relates to Section 8 of Resolution No.
the determination by the publisher and/or editors of the newspapers or publications that the accounts 2772. No pronouncement as to costs.
or views published are significant, newsworthy and of public interest.

It is not easy to understand why Section 8 was included at all in Resolution No. 2772. In any case,
Section 8 should be viewed in the context of our decision in National Press Club v. Commission on LORENZO SUMULONG and EMILIA VIDANES-BALAOING, petitioners,
Elections. 6 There the Court sustained the constitutionality of Section 11 (b) of R.A. No. 6646, known as vs.
the Electoral Reforms Law of 1987, which prohibits the sale or donation of print space and airtime for HON. BUENAVENTURA GUERRERO and NATIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY, respondents.
campaign or other political purposes, except to the Comelec. In doing so, the Court carefully
distinguished (a) paid political advertisements which are reached by the prohibition of Section 11 (b), CORTES, J.:
from (b) the reporting of news, commentaries and expressions of belief or opinion by reporters,
broadcasters, editors, commentators or columnists which fall outside the scope of Section 11 (b) and On December 5, 1977 the National Housing Authority (NIIA) filed a complaint for expropriation of
which are protected by the constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and of the press: parcels of land covering approximately twenty five (25) hectares, (in Antipolo, Rizal) including the lots
of petitioners Lorenzo Sumulong and Emilia Vidanes-Balaoing with an area of 6,667 square meters and
Secondly, and more importantly, Section 11 (b) is limited in its scope of application. Analysis of Section 3,333 square meters respectively. The land sought to be expropriated were valued by the NHA at one
11 (b) shows that it purports to apply only to the purchase and sale, including purchase and sale peso (P1.00) per square meter adopting the market value fixed by the provincial assessor in
disguised as a donation, of print space and air time for campaign or other political purposes. Section 11 accordance with presidential decrees prescribing the valuation of property in expropriation
(b) does not purport in any way to restrict the reporting by newspapers or radio or television stations of proceedings.
news or news-worthy events relating to candidates, their qualifications, political parties and programs
of government. Moreover, Section 11 (b) does not reach commentaries and expressions of belief or Together with the complaint was a motion for immediate possession of the properties. The NHA
opinion by reporters or broadcaster or editors or commentators or columnists in respect of candidates, deposited the amount of P158,980.00 with the Philippine National Bank, representing the "total market
their qualifications, and programs and so forth, so long at least as such comments, opinions and beliefs value" of the subject twenty five hectares of land, pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 1224 which
are not in fact advertisements for particular candidates covertly paid for. In sum, Section 11 (b) is not defines "the policy on the expropriation of private property for socialized housing upon payment of just
to be read as reaching any report or commentary or other coverage that, in responsible media, is not compensation."
paid for by candidates for political office. We read Section 11 (b) as designed to cover only paid political
advertisements of particular candidates. On January 17, 1978, respondent Judge issued the following Order:

The above limitation in scope of application of Section 11 (b) that it does not restrict either the Plaintiff having deposited with the Philippine National Bank, Heart Center Extension Office, Diliman,
reporting of or the expression of belief or opinion or comment upon the qualifications and programs Quezon City, Metro Manila, the amount of P158,980.00 representing the total market value of the
and activities of any and all candidates for office constitutes the critical distinction which must be subject parcels of land, let a writ of possession be issued.
made between the instant case and that of Sanidad v. Commission on Elections. . . . 7 (Citations
omitted; emphasis supplied) SO ORDERED.

Section 8 of Resolution No. 2772 appears to represent the effort of the Comelec to establish a guideline Pasig, Metro Manila, January 17, 1978.
for implementation of the above-quoted distinction and doctrine in National Press Club an effort not
blessed with evident success. Section 2 of Resolution No. 2772-A while possibly helpful, does not add (SGD) BUENAVENTURA S. GUERRERO
substantially to the utility of Section 8 of Resolution No. 2772. The distinction between paid political
advertisements on the one hand and news reports, commentaries and expressions of belief or opinion Judge
by reporters, broadcasters, editors, etc. on the other hand, can realistically be given operative meaning
only in actual cases or controversies, on a case-to-case basis, in terms of very specific sets of facts. Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration on the ground that they had been deprived of the
possession of their property without due process of law. This was however, denied.
At all events, the Court is bound to note that PPI has failed to allege any specific affirmative action on
the part of Comelec designed to enforce or implement Section 8. PPI has not claimed that it or any of Hence, this petition challenging the orders of respondent Judge and assailing the constitutionality of
its members has sustained actual or imminent injury by reason of Comelec action under Section 8. Put Pres. Decree No. 1224, as amended. Petitioners argue that:
a little differently, the Court considers that the precise constitutional issue here sought to be raised
whether or not Section 8 of Resolution No. 2772 constitutes a permissible exercise of the Comelec's
power under Article IX, Section 4 of the Constitution to
1) Respondent Judge acted without or in excess of his jurisdiction or with grave abuse of
discretion by issuing the Order of January 17, 1978 without notice and without hearing and in issuing e) Such other activities undertaken in pursuance of the objective to provide and maintain
the Order dated June 28, 1978 denying the motion for reconsideration. housing for the greatest number of people under Presidential Decree No, 757, (Pres. Decree No. 1259,
sec. 1)
2) Pres. Decree l224, as amended, is unconstitutional for being violative of the due process
clause, specifically: The "public use" requirement for a and exercise of the power of eminent domain is a flexible and
evolving concept influenced by changing conditions. In this jurisdiction, the statutory and judicial trend
a) The Decree would allow the taking of property regardless of size and no matter how small has been summarized as follows:
the area to be expropriated;
The taking to be valid must be for public use. There was a time when it was felt that a literal meaning
b) "Socialized housing" for the purpose of condemnation proceeding, as defined in said Decree, should be attached to such a requirement. Whatever project is undertaken must be for the public to
is not really for a public purpose; enjoy, as in the case of streets or parks. Otherwise, expropriation is not allowable. It is not anymore. As
long as the purpose of the taking is public, then the power of eminent domain comes into play. As just
c) The Decree violates procedural due process as it allows immediate taking of possession, noted, the constitution in at least two cases, to remove any doubt, determines what is public use. One
control and disposition of property without giving the owner his day in court; is the expropriation of lands to be subdivided into small lots for resale at cost to individuals. The other
is in the transfer, through the exercise of this power, of utilities and other private enterprise to the
d) The Decree would allow the taking of private property upon payment of unjust and unfair government. It is accurate to state then that at present whatever may be beneficially employed for the
valuations arbitrarily fixed by government assessors; general welfare satisfies the requirement of public use [Heirs of Juancho Ardona v. Reyes, G.R. Nos.
60549, 60553-60555 October 26, 1983, 125 SCRA 220 (1983) at 234-5 quoting E. FERNANDO, THE
e) The Decree would deprive the courts of their judicial discretion to determine what would be CONSTITUTION OF THE PHILIPPINES 523-4, (2nd ed., 1977) Emphasis supplied].
the "just compensation" in each and every raise of expropriation.
The term "public use" has acquired a more comprehensive coverage. To the literal import of the term
Indeed, the exercise of the power of eminent domain is subject to certain limitations imposed by the signifying strict use or employment by the public has been added the broader notion of indirect public
constitution, to wit: benefit or advantage. As discussed in the above cited case of Heirs of Juancho Ardona:

Private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation (Art. IV, Sec. 9); The restrictive view of public use may be appropriate for a nation which circumscribes the scope of
government activities and public concerns and which possesses big and correctly located public lands
No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person that obviate the need to take private property for public purposes. Neither circumstance applies to the
be denied the equal protection of the laws (Art. IV, sec. 1). Philippines. We have never been a laissez faire State. And the necessities which impel the exertion of
sovereign power are all too often found in areas of scarce public land or limited government resources.
Nevertheless, a clear case of constitutional infirmity has to be established for this Court to nullify (p. 231)
legislative or executive measures adopted to implement specific constitutional provisions aimed at
promoting the general welfare. Specifically, urban renewal or redevelopment and the construction of low-cost housing is recognized as
a public purpose, not only because of the expanded concept of public use but also because of specific
Petitioners' objections to the taking of their property subsumed under the headings of public use, just provisions in the Constitution. The 1973 Constitution made it incumbent upon the State to establish,
compensation, and due process have to be balanced against competing interests of the public maintain and ensure adequate social services including housing [Art. 11, sec. 7]. The 1987 Constitution
recognized and sought to be served under declared policies of the constitution as implemented by goes even further by providing that:
legislation.
The State shall promote a just and dynamic social order that will ensure the prosperity and
1. Public use independence of the nation and free the people from poverty through policies that provide adequate
social services, promote full employment, a rising standard of living and an improved quality of life for
a) Socialized Housing all. [Art. II, sec. 9]

Petitioners contend that "socialized housing" as defined in Pres. Decree No. 1224, as amended, for the The state shall by law, and for the common good, undertake, in cooperation with the private sector, a
purpose of condemnation proceedings is not "public use" since it will benefit only "a handful of people, continuing program of urban land reform and housing which will make available at affordable cost
bereft of public character." decent housing and basic services to underprivileged and homeless citizens in urban centers and
resettlement areas. It shall also promote adequate employment opportunities to such citizens. In the
"Socialized housing" is defined as, "the construction of dwelling units for the middle and lower class implementation of such program the State shall respect the rights of small property owners. (Art. XIII,
members of our society, including the construction of the supporting infrastructure and other facilities" sec. 9, Emphaisis supplied)
(Pres. Decree No. 1224, par. 1). This definition was later expanded to include among others:
Housing is a basic human need. Shortage in housing is a matter of state concern since it directly and
a) The construction and/or improvement of dwelling units for the middle and lower income significantly affects public health, safety, the environment and in sum, the general welfare. The public
groups of the society, including the construction of the supporting infrastructure and other facilities; character of housing measures does not change because units in housing projects cannot be occupied
by all but only by those who satisfy prescribed qualifications. A beginning has to be made, for it is not
b) Slum clearance, relocation and resettlement of squatters and slum dwellers as well as the possible to provide housing for are who need it, all at once.
provision of related facilities and services;
Population growth, the migration to urban areas and the mushrooming of crowded makeshift dwellings
c) Slum improvement which consists basically of allocating homelots to the dwellers in the area is a worldwide development particularly in developing countries. So basic and urgent are housing
or property involved, rearrangemeant and re-alignment of existing houses and other dwelling problems that the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 1987 as the "International Year of
structures and the construction and provision of basic community facilities and services, where there Shelter for the Homeless" "to focus the attention of the international community on those problems".
are none, such as roads, footpaths, drainage, sewerage, water and power system schools, barangay The General Assembly is Seriously concerned that, despite the efforts of Governments at the national
centers, community centers, clinics, open spaces, parks, playgrounds and other recreational facilities; and local levels and of international organizations, the driving conditions of the majority of the people
in slums and squatter areas and rural settlements, especially in developing countries, continue to
d) The provision of economic opportunities, including the development of commercial and deteriorate in both relative and absolute terms." [G.A. Res. 37/221, Yearbook of the United Nations
industrial estates and such other facilities to enhance the total community growth; and 1982, Vol. 36, p. 1043-4]
involving a considerable number of individuals, and eschew small controversies and wait until they
In the light of the foregoing, this Court is satisfied that "socialized housing" fans within the confines of grow into a major problem before taking remedial action.
"public use". It is, particularly important to draw attention to paragraph (d) of Pres. Dec. No. 1224
which opportunities inextricably linked with low-cost housing, or slum clearance, relocation and The said case of J.M. Tuason Co., Inc. departed from the ruling in Guido vs. Rural Progress
resettlement, or slum improvement emphasize the public purpose of the project. Administration [84 Phil. 847 (1949)] which held that the test to be applied for a valid expropriation of
private lands was the area of the land and not the number of people who stood to be benefited. Since
In the case at bar, the use to which it is proposed to put the subject parcels of land meets the then "there has evolved a clear pattern of adherence to the "number of people to be benefited test" "
requisites of "public use". The lands in question are being expropriated by the NHA for the expansion of [Mataas na Lupa Tenants Association, Inc. v. Dimayuga, G.R. No. 32049, June 25,1984, 130 SCRA 30
Bagong Nayon Housing Project to provide housing facilities to low-salaried government employees. (1984) at 39]. Thus, in Pulido vs. Court of Appeals [G.R. No. 57625, May 3, 1983, 122 SCRA 63 (1983) at
Quoting respondents: 73], this Court stated that, "[i]t is unfortunate that the petitioner would be deprived of his landholdings,
but his interest and that of his family should not stand in the way of progress and the benefit of the
1. The Bagong Nayong Project is a housing and community development undertaking of the greater may only of the inhabitants of the country."
National Housing Authority. Phase I covers about 60 hectares of GSIS property in Antipolo, Rizal; Phase
II includes about 30 hectares for industrial development and the rest are for residential housing The State acting through the NHA is vested with broad discretion to designate the particular
development. property/properties to be taken for socialized housing purposes and how much thereof may be
expropriated. Absent a clear showing of fraud, bad faith, or gross abuse of discretion, which petitioners
It is intended for low-salaried government employees and aims to provide housing and community herein failed to demonstrate, the Court will give due weight to and leave undisturbed the NHA's choice
services for about 2,000 families in Phase I and about 4,000 families in Phase II. and the size of the site for the project. The property owner may not interpose objections merely
because in their judgment some other property would have been more suitable, or just as suitable, for
It is situated on rugged terrain 7.5 kms. from Marikina Town proper; 22 Kms. east of Manila; and is the purpose. The right to the use, enjoyment and disposal of private property is tempered by and has
within the Lungs Silangan Townsite Reservation (created by Presidential Proclamation No. 1637 on April to yield to the demands of the common good. The Constitutional provisions on the subject are clear:
18, 1977).
The State shall promote social justice in all phases of national development. (Art. II, sec. 10)
The lands involved in the present petitions are parts of the expanded/additional areas for the Bagong
Nayon Project totalling 25.9725 hectares. They likewise include raw, rolling hills. (Rollo, pp. 266-7) The Congress shall give highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the
right of all the people to human dignity, reduce social, economic, and political inequalities, and remove
The acute shortage of housing units in the country is of public knowledge. Official data indicate that cultural inequities by equitably diffusing wealth and political power for the common good. To this end,
more than one third of the households nationwide do not own their dwelling places. A significant the State shall regulate the acquisition, ownership, use and disposition of property and its increments.
number live in dwellings of unacceptable standards, such as shanties, natural shelters, and structures (Art, XIII, sec. 1)
intended for commercial, industrial, or agricultural purposes. Of these unacceptable dwelling units,
more than one third is located within the National Capital Region (NCR) alone which lies proximate to Indeed, the foregoing provisions, which are restatements of the provisions in the 1935 and 1973
and is expected to be the most benefited by the housing project involved in the case at bar [See, Constitutions, emphasize:
National Census and Statistics Office, 1980 Census of Population and Housing].
...the stewardship concept, under which private property is supposed to be held by the individual only
According to the National Economic and Development Authority at the time of the expropriation in as a trustee for the people in general, who are its real owners. As a mere steward, the individual must
question, about "50 per cent of urban families, cannot afford adequate shelter even at reduced rates exercise his rights to the property not for his own exclusive and selfish benefit but for the good of the
and will need government support to provide them with social housing, subsidized either partially or entire community or nation [Mataas na Lupa Tenants Association, Inc. supra at 42-3 citing I. CRUZ,
totally" [NEDA, FOUR YEAR DEVELOPMENT PLAN For 1974-1977, p. 357]. Up to the present, housing PHILIPPINE POLITICAL LAW, 70 (1983 ed.)].
some remains to be out of the reach of a sizable proportion of the population" [NEDA, MEDIUM-TERM
PHILIPPINE DEVELOPMENT PLAN 1987-1992, p. 240]. 2. Just Compensation

The mushrooming of squatter colonies in the Metropolitan Manila area as well as in other cities and Petitioners maintain that Pres. Decree No. 1224, as amended, would allow the taking of private
centers of population throughout the country, and, the efforts of the government to initiate housing property upon payment of unjust and unfair valuations arbitrarily fixed by government assessors. In
and other projects are matters of public knowledge [See NEDA, FOUR YEAR DEVELOPMENT PLAN For addition, they assert that the Decree would deprive the courts of their judicial discretion to determine
1974-1977, pp. 357-361; NEDA, FIVE-YEAR PHILIPPINE DEVELOPMENT PLAN 1978-1982, pp. 215-228 what would be "just compensation".
NEDA, FIVE YEAR PHILIPPINE DEVELOPMENT PLAN 1983-1987, pp. 109-117; NEDA, MEDIUM TERM
PHILIPPINE DEVELOPMENT PLAN 1987-1992, pp. 240-254]. The foregoing contentions have already been ruled upon by this Court in the case of Ignacio vs.
Guerrero (G.R. No. L-49088, May 29, 1987) which, incidentally, arose from the same expropriation
b) Size of Property complaint that led to this instant petition. The provisions on just compensation found in Presidential
Decree Nos. 1224, 1259 and 1313 are the same provisions found in Presidential Decree Nos. 76, 464,
Petitioners further contend that Pres. Decree 1224, as amended, would allow the taking of "any private 794 and 1533 which were declared unconstitutional in Export Processing Zone All thirty vs. Dulay (G.R.
land" regardless of the size and no matter how small the area of the land to be expropriated. No. 5960 April 29, 1987) for being encroachments on prerogatives.
Petitioners claim that "there are vast areas of lands in Mayamot, Cupang, and San Isidro, Antipolo, Rizal
hundred of hectares of which are owned by a few landowners only. It is surprising [therefore] why This Court abandoned the ruling in National Housing Authority vs. Reyes [G.R. No. 49439, June 29,1983,
respondent National Housing Authority [would] include [their] two man lots ..." 123 SCRA 245 (1983)] which upheld Pres. Decree No. 464, as amended by - Presidential Decree Nos.
794, 1224 and 1259.
In J.M. Tuason Co., Inc. vs. Land Tenure Administration [G. R. No. L-21064, February 18, 1970, 31 SCRA
413 (1970) at 428] this Court earlier ruled that expropriation is not confined to landed estates. This In said case of Export Processing Zone Authority, this Court pointed out that:
Court, quoting the dissenting opinion of Justice J.B.L. Reyes in Republic vs. Baylosis, [96 Phil. 461
(1955)], held that: The basic unfairness of the decrees is readily apparent.

The propriety of exercising the power of eminent domain under Article XIII, section 4 of our Constitution Just compensation means the value of the property at the time of the taking. It means a fair and full
cannot be determined on a purely quantitative or area basis. Not only does the constitutional provision equivalent for the loss sustained. ALL the facts as to the condition of the property and its surroundings,
speak of lands instead of landed estates, but I see no cogent reason why the government, in its quest its improvements and capabilities, should be considered.
for social justice and peace, should exclusively devote attention to conflicts of large proportions,
xxx xxx xxx

Various factors can come into play in the valuation of specific properties singled out for expropriation.
The values given by provincial assessors are usually uniform for very wide areas covering several
barrios or even an entire total with the exception of the poblacion. Individual differences are never
taken into account. The value of land is based on such generalities as its possible cultivation for rice,
corn, coconuts, or other crops. Very often land described as directional has been cultivated for
generations. Buildings are described in terms of only two or three classes of building materials and
estimates of areas are more often inaccurate than correct. Tax values can serve as guides but cannot
be absolute substitutes for just compensation.

To say that the owners are estopped to question the valuations made by assessors since they had the
opportunity to protest is illusory. The overwhelming mass of landowners accept unquestioningly what is
found in the tax declarations prepared by local assessors or municipal clerks for them. They do not
even look at, much less analyze, the statements. The Idea of expropriation simply never occurs until a
demand is made or a case filed by an agency authorized to do so. (pp. 12-3)

3. Due Process

Petitioners assert that Pres. Decree 1224, as amended, violates procedural due process as it allows
immediate taking of possession, control and disposition of property without giving the owner his day in
court. Respondent Judge ordered the issuance of a writ of possession without notice and without
hearing.

The constitutionality of this procedure has also been ruled upon in the Export Processing Zone
Authority case, viz:

It is violative of due process to deny to the owner the opportunity to prove that the valuation in the tax
documents is unfair or wrong. And it is repulsive to basic concepts of justice and fairness to allow the
haphazard work of minor bureaucrat or clerk to absolutely prevail over the judgment of a court
promulgated only after expert commissioners have actually viewed the property, after evidence and
arguments pro and con have been presented, and after all factors and considerations essential to a fair
and just determination have been judiciously evaluated. (p. 13)

On the matter of the issuance of a writ of possession, the ruling in the Ignacio case is reiterated, thus:

[I]t is imperative that before a writ of possession is issued by the Court in expropriation proceedings,
the following requisites must be met: (1) There must be a Complaint for expropriation sufficient in form
and in substance; (2) A provisional determination of just compensation for the properties sought to be
expropriated must be made by the trial court on the basis of judicial (not legislative or executive)
discretion; and (3) The deposit requirement under Section 2, Rule 67 must be complied with. (p. 14)

This Court holds that "socialized housing" defined in Pres. Decree No. 1224, as amended by Pres.
Decree Nos. 1259 and 1313, constitutes "public use" for purposes of expropriation. However, as
previously held by this Court, the provisions of such decrees on just compensation are unconstitutional;
and in the instant case the Court finds that the Orders issued pursuant to the corollary provisions of
those decrees authorizing immediate taking without notice and hearing are violative of due process.

WHEREFORE, the Orders of the lower court dated January 17, 1978 and June 28, 1978 issuing the writ
of possession on the basis of the market value appearing therein are annulled for having been issued in
excess of jurisdiction. Let this case be remanded to the court of origin for further proceedings to
determine the compensation the petitioners are entitled to be paid. No costs.

SO ORDERED.
Petitioners then lodged a petition for certiorari and prohibition with the Court of Appeals. In its now
disputed 15th January 1992 decision, the appellate court dismissed the petition on the ground that the
remedy of appeal in the ordinary course of law was an adequate remedy and that the petition itself, in
Manosca vs. Court of Appeals [G.R. No. 106440 any case, had failed to show any grave abuse of discretion or lack of jurisdictional competence on the
part of the trial court. A motion for the reconsideration of the decision was denied in the 23rd July 1992
In this appeal, via a petition for review on certiorari, from the decision[1] of the Court of Appeals, dated resolution of the appellate court.
15 January 1992, in CA-G.R. SP No. 24969 (entitled Alejandro Manosca, et al. v. Hon. Benjamin V.
Pelayo, et al.), this Court is asked to resolve whether or not the public use requirement of Eminent We begin, in this present recourse of petitioners, with a few known postulates.
Domain is extant in the attempted expropriation by the Republic of a 492-square-meter parcel of land
so declared by the National Historical Institute (NHI) as a national historical landmark. Eminent domain, also often referred to as expropriation and, with less frequency, as condemnation, is,
like police power and taxation, an inherent power of sovereignty. It need not be clothed with any
The facts of the case are not in dispute. constitutional gear to exist; instead, provisions in our Constitution on the subject are meant more to
regulate, rather than to grant, the exercise of the power. Eminent domain is generally so described as
Petitioners inherited a piece of land located at P. Burgos Street, Calzada, Taguig, Metro Manila, with an the highest and most exact idea of property remaining in the government that may be acquired for
area of about four hundred ninety-two (492) square meters. When the parcel was ascertained by the some public purpose through a method in the nature of a forced purchase by the State.[9] It is a right
NHI to have been the birthsite of Felix Y. Manalo, the founder of Iglesia Ni Cristo, it passed Resolution to take or reassert dominion over property within the state for public use or to meet a public exigency.
No. 1, Series of 1986, pursuant to Section 4[2] of Presidential Decree No. 260, declaring the land to be It is said to be an essential part of governance even in its most primitive form and thus inseparable
a national historical landmark. The resolution was, on 06 January 1986, approved by the Minister of from sovereignty.[10] The only direct constitutional qualification is that private property shall not be
Education, Culture and Sports. Later, the opinion of the Secretary of Justice was asked on the legality of taken for public use without just compensation.[11] This proscription is intended to provide a safeguard
the measure. In his Opinion No. 133, Series of 1987, the Secretary of Justice replied in the affirmative; against possible abuse and so to protect as well the individual against whose property the power is
he explained: sought to be enforced.

According to your guidelines, national landmarks are places or objects that are associated with an Petitioners assert that the expropriation has failed to meet the guidelines set by this Court in the case
event, achievement, characteristic, or modification that makes a turning point or stage in Philippine of Guido v. Rural Progress Administration,[12] to wit: (a) the size of the land expropriated; (b) the large
history. Thus, the birthsite of the founder of the Iglesia ni Cristo, the late Felix Y. Manalo, who, number of people benefited; and, (c) the extent of social and economic reform.[13] Petitioners suggest
admittedly, had made contributions to Philippine history and culture has been declared as a national that we confine the concept of expropriation only to the following public uses,[14] i.e., the -
landmark. It has been held that places invested with unusual historical interest is a public use for which
the power of eminent domain may be authorized x x x. x x x taking of property for military posts, roads, streets, sidewalks, bridges, ferries, levees, wharves,
piers, public buildings including schoolhouses, parks, playgrounds, plazas, market places, artesian
In view thereof, it is believed that the National Historical Institute as an agency of the Government wells, water supply and sewerage systems, cemeteries, crematories, and railroads.
charged with the maintenance and care of national shrines, monuments and landmarks and the
development of historical sites that may be declared as national shrines, monuments and/or This view of petitioners is much too limitative and restrictive.
landmarks, may initiate the institution of condemnation proceedings for the purpose of acquiring the
lot in question in accordance with the procedure provided for in Rule 67 of the Revised Rules of Court. The court, in Guido, merely passed upon the issue of the extent of the Presidents power under
The proceedings should be instituted by the Office of the Solicitor General in behalf of the Republic. Commonwealth Act No. 539 to, specifically, acquire private lands for subdivision into smaller home lots
or farms for resale to bona fide tenants or occupants. It was in this particular context of the statute that
Accordingly, on 29 May 1989, the Republic, through the Office of the Solicitor-General, instituted a the Court had made the pronouncement. The guidelines in Guido were not meant to be preclusive in
complaint for expropriation[3] before the Regional Trial Court of Pasig for and in behalf of the NHI nature and, most certainly, the power of eminent domain should not now be understood as being
alleging, inter alia, that: confined only to the expropriation of vast tracts of land and landed estates.[15]

Pursuant to Section 4 of Presidential Decree No. 260, the National Historical Institute issued Resolution The term public use, not having been otherwise defined by the constitution, must be considered in its
No. 1, Series of 1986, which was approved on January, 1986 by the then Minister of Education, Culture general concept of meeting a public need or a public exigency.[16] Black summarizes the
and Sports, declaring the above described parcel of land which is the birthsite of Felix Y. Manalo, characterization given by various courts to the term; thus:
founder of the Iglesia ni Cristo, as a National Historical Landmark. The plaintiff perforce needs the land
as such national historical landmark which is a public purpose. Public Use. Eminent domain. The constitutional and statutory basis for taking property by eminent
domain. For condemnation purposes, public use is one which confers same benefit or advantage to the
At the same time, respondent Republic filed an urgent motion for the issuance of an order to permit it public; it is not confined to actual use by public. It is measured in terms of right of public to use
to take immediate possession of the property. The motion was opposed by petitioners. After a hearing, proposed facilities for which condemnation is sought and, as long as public has right of use, whether
the trial court issued, on 03 August 1989,[4] an order fixing the provisional market (P54,120.00) and exercised by one or many members of public, a public advantage or public benefit accrues sufficient to
assessed (P16,236.00) values of the property and authorizing the Republic to take over the property constitute a public use. Montana Power Co. vs. Bokma, Mont. 457 P. 2d 769, 772, 773.
once the required sum would have been deposited with the Municipal Treasurer of Taguig, Metro Manila.
Public use, in constitutional provisions restricting the exercise of the right to take private property in
Petitioners moved to dismiss the complaint on the main thesis that the intended expropriation was not virtue of eminent domain, means a use concerning the whole community as distinguished from
for a public purpose and, incidentally, that the act would constitute an application of public funds, particular individuals. But each and every member of society need not be equally interested in such
directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of Iglesia ni Cristo, a religious entity, contrary to use, or be personally and directly affected by it; if the object is to satisfy a great public want or
the provision of Section 29(2), Article VI, of the 1987 Constitution.[5] Petitioners sought, in the exigency, that is sufficient. Rindge Co. vs. Los Angeles County, 262 U.S. 700, 43 S.Ct. 689, 692, 67
meanwhile, a suspension in the implementation of the 03rd August 1989 order of the trial court. L.Ed. 1186. The term may be said to mean public usefulness, utility, or advantage, or what is
productive of general benefit. It may be limited to the inhabitants of a small or restricted locality, but
On 15 February 1990, following the filing by respondent Republic of its reply to petitioners motion must be in common, and not for a particular individual. The use must be a needful one for the public,
seeking the dismissal of the case, the trial court issued its denial of said motion to dismiss.[6] Five (5) which cannot be surrendered without obvious general loss and inconvenience. A public use for which
days later, or on 20 February 1990,[7] another order was issued by the trial court, declaring moot and land may be taken defies absolute definition for it changes with varying conditions of society, new
academic the motion for reconsideration and/or suspension of the order of 03 August 1989 with the appliances in the sciences, changing conceptions of scope and functions of government, and other
rejection of petitioners motion to dismiss. Petitioners motion for the reconsideration of the 20th differing circumstances brought about by an increase in population and new modes of communication
February 1990 order was likewise denied by the trial court in its 16th April 1991 order.[8] and transportation. Katz v. Brandon, 156 Conn., 521, 245 A.2d 579,586.[17]
Petitioners, finally, would fault respondent appellate court in sustaining the trial courts order which
The validity of the exercise of the power of eminent domain for traditional purposes is beyond question; considered inapplicable the case of Noble v. City of Manila.[26] Both courts held correctly. The Republic
it is not at all to be said, however, that public use should thereby be restricted to such traditional uses. was not a party to the alleged contract of exchange between the Iglesia ni Cristo and petitioners which
The idea that public use is strictly limited to clear cases of use by the public has long been discarded. (the contracting parties) alone, not the Republic, could properly be bound.
This Court in Heirs of Juancho Ardona v. Reyes,[18] quoting from Berman v. Parker (348 U.S. 25; 99 L.
ed. 27), held: All considered, the Court finds the assailed decision to be in accord with law and jurisprudence.

We do not sit to determine whether a particular housing project is or is not desirable. The concept of WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. No costs.
the public welfare is broad and inclusive. See DayBrite Lighting, Inc. v. Missouri, 342 US 421, 424, 96 L.
Ed. 469, 472, 72 S Ct 405. The values it represents are spiritual as well as physical, aesthetic as well as SO ORDERED.
monetary. It is within the power of the legislature to determine that the community should be beautiful
as well as healthy, spacious as well as clean, well-balanced as well as carefully patrolled. In the present
case, the Congress and its authorized agencies have made determinations that take into account a
wide variety of values. It is not for us to reappraise them. If those who govern the District of Columbia
decide that the Nations Capital should be beautiful as well as sanitary, there is nothing in the Fifth
Amendment that stands in the way.

Once the object is within the authority of Congress, the right to realize it through the exercise of
eminent domain is clear. For the power of eminent domain is merely the means to the end. See Luxton
v. North River Bridge Co. 153 US 525, 529, 530, 38 L. ed. 808, 810, 14 S Ct 891; United States v.
Gettysburg Electric R. Co. 160 US 668, 679, 40 L. ed. 576, 580, 16 S Ct 427.

It has been explained as early as Sea v. Manila Railroad Co.,[19] that:

x x x A historical research discloses the meaning of the term public use to be one of constant growth.
As society advances, its demands upon the individual increase and each demand is a new use to which
the resources of the individual may be devoted. x x x for whatever is beneficially employed for the
community is a public use.

Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando states:

The taking to be valid must be for public use. There was a time when it was felt that a literal meaning
should be attached to such a requirement. Whatever project is undertaken must be for the public to
enjoy, as in the case of streets or parks. Otherwise, expropriation is not allowable. It is not so any more.
As long as the purpose of the taking is public, then the power of eminent domain comes into play. As
just noted, the constitution in at least two cases, to remove any doubt, determines what is public use.
One is the expropriation of lands to be subdivided into small lots for resale at cost to individuals. The
other is the transfer, through the exercise of this power, of utilities and other private enterprise to the
government. It is accurate to state then that at present whatever may be beneficially employed for the
general welfare satisfies the requirement of public use.[20]

Chief Justice Fernando, writing the ponencia in J.M. Tuason & Co. vs. Land Tenure Administration,[21]
has viewed the Constitution a dynamic instrument and one that is not to be construed narrowly or
pedantically so as to enable it to meet adequately whatever problems the future has in store. Fr.
Joaquin Bernas, a noted constitutionalist himself, has aptly observed that what, in fact, has ultimately
emerged is a concept of public use which is just as broad as public welfare.[22]

Petitioners ask: But (w)hat is the so-called unusual interest that the expropriation of (Felix Manalos)
birthplace become so vital as to be a public use appropriate for the exercise of the power of eminent
domain when only members of the Iglesia ni Cristo would benefit? This attempt to give some religious
perspective to the case deserves little consideration, for what should be significant is the principal
objective of, not the casual consequences that might follow from, the exercise of the power. The
purpose in setting up the marker is essentially to recognize the distinctive contribution of the late Felix
Manalo to the culture of the Philippines, rather than to commemorate his founding and leadership of
the Iglesia ni Cristo. The practical reality that greater benefit may be derived by members of the Iglesia
ni Cristo than by most others could well be true but such a peculiar advantage still remains to be
merely incidental and secondary in nature. Indeed, that only a few would actually benefit from the
expropriation of property does not necessarily diminish the essence and character of public use.[23]

Petitioners contend that they have been denied due process in the fixing of the provisional value of
their property. Petitioners need merely to be reminded that what the law prohibits is the lack of
opportunity to be heard;[24] contrary to petitioners argument, the records of this case are replete with
pleadings[25] that could have dealt, directly or indirectly, with the provisional value of the property.
At the pre-trial conference on February 13, 1981, the respondent judge issued an order stating that the
parties have agreed that the only issue to be resolved is the just compensation for the properties and
that the pre-trial is thereby terminated and the hearing on the merits is set on April 2, 1981.

On February 17, 1981, the respondent judge issued the order of condemnation declaring the petitioner
as having the lawful right to take the properties sought to be condemned, upon the payment of just
compensation to be determined as of the filing of the complaint. The respondent judge also issued a
second order, subject of this petition, appointing certain persons as commissioners to ascertain and
report to the court the just compensation for the properties sought to be expropriated.

On June 19, 1981, the three commissioners submitted their consolidated report recommending the
amount of P15.00 per square meter as the fair and reasonable value of just compensation for the
properties.

On July 29, 1981, the petitioner Med a Motion for Reconsideration of the order of February 19, 1981 and
Objection to Commissioner's Report on the grounds that P.D. No. 1533 has superseded Sections 5 to 8
of Rule 67 of the Rules of Court on the ascertainment of just compensation through commissioners; and
that the compensation must not exceed the maximum amount set by P.D. No. 1533.

On November 14, 1981, the trial court denied the petitioner's motion for reconsideration and gave the
latter ten (10) days within which to file its objection to the Commissioner's Report.

On February 9, 1982, the petitioner flied this present petition for certiorari and mandamus with
preliminary restraining order, enjoining the trial court from enforcing the order dated February 17, 1981
and from further proceeding with the hearing of the expropriation case.

The only issue raised in this petition is whether or not Sections 5 to 8, Rule 67 of the Revised Rules of
Court had been repealed or deemed amended by P.D. No. 1533 insofar as the appointment of
commissioners to determine the just compensation is concerned. Stated in another way, is the
exclusive and mandatory mode of determining just compensation in P.D. No. 1533 valid and
constitutional?
EXPORT PROCESSING ZONE AUTHORITY, petitioner, vs. HON. CEFERINO E. DULAY, in his
capacity as the Presiding Judge, Court of First Instance of Cebu, Branch XVI, Lapu-Lapu The petitioner maintains that the respondent judge acted in excess of his jurisdiction and with grave
City, and SAN ANTONIO DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, respondents. abuse of discretion in denying the petitioner's motion for reconsideration and in setting the
Elena M. Cuevas for respondents. commissioner's report for hearing because under P.D. No. 1533, which is the applicable law herein, the
basis of just compensation shall be the fair and current market value declared by the owner of the
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: property sought to be expropriated or such market value as determined by the assessor, whichever is
lower. Therefore, there is no more need to appoint commissioners as prescribed by Rule 67 of the
The question raised in this petition is whether or not Presidential Decrees Numbered 76, 464, 794 and Revised Rules of Court and for said commissioners to consider other highly variable factors in order to
1533 have repealed and superseded Sections 5 to 8 of Rule 67 of the Revised Rules of Court, such that determine just compensation. The petitioner further maintains that P.D. No. 1533 has vested on the
in determining the just compensation of property in an expropriation case, the only basis should be its assessors and the property owners themselves the power or duty to fix the market value of the
market value as declared by the owner or as determined by the assessor, whichever is lower. properties and that said property owners are given the full opportunity to be heard before the Local
Board of Assessment Appeals and the Central Board of Assessment Appeals. Thus, the vesting on the
On January 15, 1979, the President of the Philippines, issued Proclamation No. 1811, reserving a certain assessor or the property owner of the right to determine the just compensation in expropriation
parcel of land of the public domain situated in the City of Lapu-Lapu, Island of Mactan, Cebu and proceedings, with appropriate procedure for appeal to higher administrative boards, is valid and
covering a total area of 1,193,669 square meters, more or less, for the establishment of an export constitutional.
processing zone by petitioner Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA).
Prior to the promulgation of P.D. Nos. 76, 464, 794 and 1533, this Court has interpreted the eminent
Not all the reserved area, however, was public land. The proclamation included, among others, four (4) domain provisions of the Constitution and established the meaning, under the fundametal law, of just
parcels of land with an aggregate area of 22,328 square meters owned and registered in the name of compensation and who has the power to determine it. Thus, in the following cases, wherein the filing of
the private respondent. The petitioner, therefore, offered to purchase the parcels of land from the the expropriation proceedings were all commenced prior to the promulgation of the aforementioned
respondent in acccordance with the valuation set forth in Section 92, Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 464, decrees, we laid down the doctrine onjust compensation:
as amended. The parties failed to reach an agreement regarding the sale of the property.
Municipality of Daet v. Court of Appeals (93 SCRA 503, 516),
The petitioner filed with the then Court of First Instance of Cebu, Branch XVI, Lapu-Lapu City, a
complaint for expropriation with a prayer for the issuance of a writ of possession against the private "And in the case of J.M. Tuason & Co., Inc. v. Land Tenure Administration, 31 SCRA 413, the Court,
respondent, to expropriate the aforesaid parcels of land pursuant to P.D. No. 66, as amended, which speaking thru now Chief Justice Fernando, reiterated the 'well-settled (rule) that just compensation
empowers the petitioner to acquire by condemnation proceedings any property for the establishment means the equivalent for the value of the property at the time of its taking. Anything beyond that is
of export processing zones, in relation to Proclamation No. 1811, for the purpose of establishing the more and anything short of that is less, than just compensation. It means a fair and full equivalent for
Mactan Export Processing Zone. the loss sustained, which is the measure of the indemnity, not whatever gain would accrue to the
expropriating entity."
On October 21, 1980, the respondent judge issued a writ of possession authorizing the petitioner to
take immediate possession of the premises. On December 23, 1980, the private respondent flied its Garcia v. Court ofappeals (102 SCRA 597, 608),
answer.
"Hence, in estimating the market value, all the capabilities of the property and all the uses to which it pupil could substitute for the judge insofar as the determination of constitutional just compensation is
may be applied or for which it is adapted are to be considered and not merely the condition it is in the concerned.
time and the use to which it is then applied by the owner. All the facts as to the condition of the
property and its surroundings, its improvements and capabilities may be shown and considered in In the case of National Housing Authority v. Reyes (123 SCRA 245), this Court upheld P.D. No. 464, as
estimating its value." further amended by P.D. Nos. 794, 1224 and 1259. In this case, the petitioner National Housing
Authority contended that the owner's declaration at P1,400.00 which happened to be lower than the
Republic v. Santos (141 SCRA 30, 35-36), assessor's assessment, is the just compensation for the respondent's property under section 92 of P.D.
No. 464. On the other hand, the private respondent stressed that while there may be basis for the
"According to section 8 of Rule 67, the court is not bound by the commissioners' report. It may make allegation that the respondent judge did not follow the decree, the matter is still subject to his final
such order or render such judgment as shall secure to the plaintiff the property essential to the disposition, he having been vested with the original and competent authority to exercise his judicial
exercise of his right of condemnation, and to the defendant just compensation for the property discretion in the light of the constitutional clauses on due process and equal protection.
expropriated. This Court may substitute its own estimate of the value as gathered from the record
(Manila Railroad Company v. Velasquez, 32 Phil. 286)." To these opposing arguments, this Court ruled ihat under the conceded facts, there should be a
recognition that the law as it stands must be applied; that the decree having spoken so clearly and
However, the promulgation of the aforementioned decrees practically set aside the above and many unequivocably calls for obedience; and that on a matter where the applicable law speaks in no
other precedents hammered out in the course of evidence-laden, well argued, fully heard, studiously uncertain language, the Court has no choice except to yield to its command. We further stated that
deliberated, and judiciously considered court proceedings. The decrees categorically and peremptorily "the courts should recognize that the rule introduced by P.D. No. 76 and reiterated in subsequent
limited the definition of just compensation thus: decrees does not upset the established concepts of justice or the constitutional provision on just
compensation for, precisely, the owner is allowed to make his own valuation of his property."
P.D. No. 76:
While the Court yielded to executive prerogative exercised in the form of absolute law-making power,
"For purposes of just compensation in cases of private property acquired by the government for public its members, nonetheless, remained uncomfortable with the implications of the decision and the abuse
use, the basis shall be the current and fair market value declared by the owner or administrator, or and unfairness which might follow in its wake. For one thing, the President himself did not seem
such market value as determined by the Assessor, whichever is lower." assured or confident with his own enactment. It was not enough to lay down the law on determination
of just compensation in P.D. 76. It had to be repeated and reiterated in P.D. 464, P.D. 794, and P.D.
P.D. No. 464: 1533. The provision is also found in P.D. 1224, P.D. 1259 and P.D. 1313. Inspite of its effectivity as
general law and the wide publicity given to it, the questioned provision or an even stricter version had
"Section 92. Basis for payment of just compensation in expropriation proceedings. In determining to be embodied in cases of specific expropriations by decree as in P.D. 1669 expropriating the
just compensation which private property is acquired by the government for public use, the basis shall Tambunting Estate and P.D. 1670 expropriating the Sunog Apog area in Tondo, Manila.
be the market value declared by the owner or administrator or anyone having legal interest in the
property, or such market value as determined by the assessor, whichever is lower." In the present petition, we are once again confronted with the same question of whether the courts
under P.D. 1533, which contains the same provision on just compensation as its predecessor decrees,
P.D. No. 794: still have the power and authority to determine just compensation, independent of what is stated by
the decree and to this effect, to appoint commissioners for such purpose.
"Section 92. Basis for payment of just compensation in expropriation proceedings. In determining
just compensation when private property is acquired by the government for public use, the same shall This time, we answer in the affirmative.
not exceed the market value declared by the owner or administrator or anyone having legal interest in
the property, or such market value as determined by the assessor, whichever is lower." In overruling the petitioner's motion for reconsideration and objection to the commissioner's report, the
trial court said:
P.D. No. 1533:
"Another consideration why the Court is empowered to appoint commissioners to assess the just
"Section 1. In determining just compensation for private property acquired through eminent domain compensation of these properties under eminent domain proceedings, is the well-entrenched ruling
proceedings, the compensation to be paid shall not exceed the value declared by the owner or that 'the owner of property expropriated is entitled to recover from expropriating authority the fair and
administrator or anyone having legal interest in the property or determined by the assessor, pursuant full value of the lot, as of the time when possession thereof was actually taken by the province, plus
to the Real Property Tax Code, whichever value is lower, prior to the recommendation or decision of the consequential damages including attorney's fees from which the consequential benefits, if any
appropriate Government office to acquire the property." should be deducted, with interest at the legal rate, on the aggregate sum due to the owner from and
after the date of actual taking.' (Capitol Subdivision, Inc. v. Province of Negros Occidental, 7 SCRA 60).
We are constrained to declare the provisions of the Decrees on just compensation unconstitutional and In fine, the decree only establishes a uniform basis for determining just compensation which the Court
void and accordingly dismiss the instant petition for lack of merit. may consider as one of the factors in arriving at 'just compensation,' as envisage in the Constitution. In
the words of Justice Barredo, "Respondent court's invocation of General Order No. 3 of September 21,
The method of ascertaining just compensation under the aforecited decrees constitutes impermissible 1972 is nothing short of an unwarranted abdication of judicial authority, which no judge duly imbued
encroachment on judicial prerogatives. It tends to render this Court inutile in a matter which under the with the implications of the paramount principle of independence of the judiciary should ever think of
Constitution is reserved to it for final determination. doing." (Lina v. Purisima, 82 SCRA 344, 351; Cf. Prov. of Pangasinan v. CFI Judge of Pangasinan, Br. VIII,
80 SCRA 117) Indeed, where this Court simply follows PD 1533, thereby limiting the determination of
Thus, although in an expropriation proceeding the court technically would still have the power to just compensation on the value declared by the owner or administrator or as determined by the
determine the just compensation for the property, following the applicable decrees, its task would be Assessor, whichever is lower, it may result in the deprivation of the landowner's right of due process to
relegated to simply stating the lower value of the property as declared either by the owner or the enable it to prove its claim to just compensation, as mandated by the Constitution. (Uy v. Genato, 57
assessor. As a necessary consequence, it would be useless for the court to appoint commissioners SCRA 123). The tax declaration under the Real Property Tax Code is, undoubtedly, for purposes of
under Rule 67 of the Rules of Court. Moreover, the need to satisfy the due process clause in the taking taxation."
of private property is seemingly fulfilled since it cannot be said that a judicial proceeding was not had
before the actual taking. However, the strict application of the decrees during the proceedings would We are convinced and so rule that the trial court correctly stated that the valuation in the decree may
be nothing short of a mere formality or charade as the court has only to choose between the valuation only serve as a guiding principle or one of the factors in determining just compensation but it may not
of the owner and that of the assessor, and its choice is always limited to the lower of the two. The court substitute the court's own judgment as to what amount should be awarded and how to arrive at such
cannot exercise its discretion or independence in determining what is just or fair. Even a grade school amount. A return to the earlier well-established doctrine, to our mind, is more in keeping with the
principle that the judiciary should live up to its mission "by vitalizing and not denigrating constitutional
rights." (See Salonga v. Cruz Pao, 134 SCRA 438, 462; citing Mercado v. Court of First Instance of Rizal, We, therefore, hold that P.D. No. 1533, which eliminates the court's discretion to appoint commissioners
116 SCRA 93.) The doctrine we enunciated in National Housing Authority v. Reyes, supra, therefore, pursuant to Rule 67 of the Rules of Court, is unconstitutional and void. To hold otherwise would be to
must necessarily be abandoned if we are to uphold this Court's role as the guardian of the fundamental undermine the very purpose why this Court exists in the first place.
rights guaranteed by the due process and equal protection clauses and as the final arbiter over
transgressions committed against constitutional rights. WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the petition is hereby DISMISSED. The temporary
restraining order issued on February 16, 1982 is LIFTED and SET ASIDE.
The basic unfairness of the decrees is readily apparent.
SO ORDERED.
Just compensation means the value of the property at the time of the taking. It means a fair and full
equivalent for the loss sustained. All the facts as to the condition of the property and its surroundings, MUNICIPALITY OF PARAAQUE, petitioner, vs. V.M. REALTY CORPORATION, respondent.
its improvements and capabilities, should be considered. PANGANIBAN, J.:

In this particular case, the tax declarations presented by the petitioner as basis for just compensation A local government unit (LGU), like the Municipality of Paraaque, cannot authorize an expropriation of
were made by the Lapu-Lapu municipal, later city assessor long before martial law, when land was not private property through a mere resolution of its lawmaking body. The Local Government Code
only much cheaper but when assessed values of properties were stated in figures constituting only a expressly and clearly requires an ordinance or a local law for the purpose. A resolution that merely
fraction of their true market value. The private respondent was not even the owner of the properties at expresses the sentiment or opinion of the Municipal Council will not suffice. On the other hand, the
the time. It purchased the lots for development purposes. To peg the value of the lots on the basis of principle of res judicata does not bar subsequent proceedings for the expropriation of the same
documents which are out of date and at prices below the acquisition cost of present owners would be property when all the legal requirements for its valid exercise are complied with.
arbitrary and confiscatory.
Statement of the Case
Various factors can come into play in the valuation of specific properties singled out for expropriation.
The values given by provincial assessors are usually uniform for very wide areas covering several These principles are applied by this Court in resolving this petition for review on certiorari of the July
barrios or even an entire town with the exception of the poblacion. Individual differences are never 22, 1996 Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals[2] in CA GR CV No. 48048, which affirmed in toto[3] the
taken into account. The value of land is based on such generalities as its possible cultivation for rice, Regional Trial Courts August 9, 1994 Resolution.[4] The trial court dismissed the expropriation suit as
corn, coconuts, or other crops. Very often land described as "cogonal" has been cultivated for follows:
generations. Buildings are described in terms of only two or three classes of building materials and
estimates of areas are more often inaccurate than correct. Tax values can serve as guides but cannot The right of the plaintiff to exercise the power of eminent domain is not disputed. However, such right
be absolute substitutes for just compensation. may be exercised only pursuant to an Ordinance (Sec. 19, R.A. No. 7160). In the instant case, there is
no such ordinance passed by the Municipal Council of Paraaque enabling the Municipality, thru its Chief
To say that the owners are estopped to question the valuations made by assessors since they had the Executive, to exercise the power of eminent domain. The complaint, therefore, states no cause of
opportunity to protest is illusory. The overwhelming mass of land owners accept unquestioningly what action.
is found in the tax declarations prepared by local assessors or municipal clerks for them. They do not
even look at, much less analyze, the statements. The Idea of expropriation simply never occurs until a Assuming that plaintiff has a cause of action, the same is barred by a prior judgment. On September
demand is made or a case filed by an agency authorized to do so. 29, 1987, the plaintiff filed a complaint for expropriation involving the same parcels of land which was
docketed as Civil Case No. 17939 of this Court (page 26, record). Said case was dismissed with
It is violative of due process to deny to the owner the opportunity to prove that the valuation in the tax prejudice on May 18, 1988 (page 39, record). The order of dismissal was not appealed, hence, the
documents is unfair or wrong. And it is repulsive to basic concepts of justice and fairness to allow the same became final. The plaintiff can not be allowed to pursue the present action without violating the
haphazard work of a minor bureaucrat or clerk to absolutely prevail over the judgment of a court principle of [r]es [j]udicata. While defendant in Civil Case No. 17939 was Limpan Investment
promulgated only after expert commissioners have actually viewed the property, after evidence and Corporation, the doctrine of res judicata still applies because the judgment in said case (C.C. No.
arguments pro and con have been presented, and after all factors and considerations essential to a fair 17939) is conclusive between the parties and their successors-in-interest (Vda. de Buncio vs. Estate of
and just determination have been judiciously evaluated. the late Anita de Leon). The herein defendant is the successor-in-interest of Limpan Investment
Corporation as shown by the Deed of Assignment Exchange executed on June 13, 1990.
As was held in the case of Gideon v. Wainwright (93 ALR 2d,733,742):
WHEREFORE, defendants motion for reconsideration is hereby granted. The order dated February 4,
"In the light of these and many other prior decisions of this Court, it is not surprising that the Betts 1994 is vacated and set aside.
Court, when faced with the contention that 'one charged with crime, who is unable to obtain counsel
must be furnished counsel by the State,' conceded that '[E]xpressions in the opinions of this court lend This case is hereby dismissed. No pronouncement as to costs.
color to the argument. . .' 316 U.S., at 462, 463, 86 L ed. 1602, 62 S Ct. 1252. The fact is that in
deciding as it did-that "appointment of counsel is not a fundamental right, essential to a fair trial" SO ORDERED.[5]
the Court in Betts v. Brady made an ubrupt brake with its own well-considered precedents. In returning
to these old precedents, sounder we believe than the new, we but restore constitutional principles Factual Antecedents
established to achieve a fair system of justice. . ."
Pursuant to Sangguniang Bayan Resolution No. 93-95, Series of 1993,[6] the Municipality of Paraaque
We return to older and more sound precedents. This Court has the duty to formulate guiding and filed on September 20, 1993, a Complaint for expropriation[7] against Private Respondent V.M. Realty
controlling constitutional principles, precepts, doctrines, or rules. (See Salonga v. Cruz Pano, supra). Corporation over two parcels of land (Lots 2-A-2 and 2-B-1 of Subdivision Plan Psd-17917), with a
combined area of about 10,000 square meters, located at Wakas, San Dionisio, Paraaque, Metro Manila,
The determination of "just compensation" in eminent domain cases is a judicial function. The executive and covered by Torrens Certificate of Title No. 48700. Allegedly, the complaint was filed for the purpose
department or the legislature may make the initial determinations but when a party claims a violation of alleviating the living conditions of the underprivileged by providing homes for the homeless through
of the guarantee in the Bill of Rights that private property may not be taken for public use without just a socialized housing project.[8] Parenthetically, it was also for this stated purpose that petitioner,
compensation, no statute, decree, or executive order can mandate that its own determination shall pursuant to its Sangguniang Bayan Resolution No. 577, Series of 1991,[9] previously made an offer to
prevail over the court's findings. Much less can the courts be precluded from looking into the "just- enter into a negotiated sale of the property with private respondent, which the latter did not accept.
ness" of the decreed compensation. [10]

Finding the Complaint sufficient in form and substance, the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 134,
issued an Order dated January 10, 1994,[11] giving it due course. Acting on petitioners motion, said
court issued an Order dated February 4, 1994,[12] authorizing petitioner to take possession of the and subject to the latters control and restraints, imposed through the law conferring the power or in
subject property upon deposit with its clerk of court of an amount equivalent to 15 percent of its fair other legislations.[26] In this case, Section 19 of RA 7160, which delegates to LGUs the power of
market value based on its current tax declaration. eminent domain, also lays down the parameters for its exercise. It provides as follows:

On February 21, 1994, private respondent filed its Answer containing affirmative defenses and a Section 19. Eminent Domain. A local government unit may, through its chief executive and acting
counterclaim,[13] alleging in the main that (a) the complaint failed to state a cause of action because it pursuant to an ordinance, exercise the power of eminent domain for public use, or purpose, or welfare
was filed pursuant to a resolution and not to an ordinance as required by RA 7160 (the Local for the benefit of the poor and the landless, upon payment of just compensation, pursuant to the
Government Code); and (b) the cause of action, if any, was barred by a prior judgment or res judicata. provisions of the Constitution and pertinent laws: Provided, however, That the power of eminent
On private respondents motion, its Answer was treated as a motion to dismiss.[14] On March 24, 1994, domain may not be exercised unless a valid and definite offer has been previously made to the owner,
[15] petitioner filed its opposition, stressing that the trial courts Order dated February 4, 1994 was in and such offer was not accepted: Provided, further, That the local government unit may immediately
accord with Section 19 of RA 7160, and that the principle of res judicata was not applicable. take possession of the property upon the filing of the expropriation proceedings and upon making a
deposit with the proper court of at least fifteen percent (15%) of the fair market value of the property
Thereafter, the trial court issued its August 9, 1994 Resolution[16] nullifying its February 4, 1994 Order based on the current tax declaration of the property to be expropriated: Provided, finally, That, the
and dismissing the case. Petitioners motions for reconsideration and transfer of venue were denied by amount to be paid for the expropriated property shall be determined by the proper court, based on the
the trial court in a Resolution dated December 2, 1994.[17] Petitioner then appealed to Respondent fair market value at the time of the taking of the property. (Emphasis supplied)
Court, raising the following issues:
Thus, the following essential requisites must concur before an LGU can exercise the power of eminent
1. Whether or not the Resolution of the Paraaque Municipal Council No. 93-95, Series of 1993 is a domain:
substantial compliance of the statutory requirement of Section 19, R.A. 7180 [sic] in the exercise of the
power of eminent domain by the plaintiff-appellant. 1. An ordinance is enacted by the local legislative council authorizing the local chief executive, in
behalf of the LGU, to exercise the power of eminent domain or pursue expropriation proceedings over a
2. Whether or not the complaint in this case states no cause of action. particular private property.

3. Whether or not the strict adherence to the literal observance to the rule of procedure resulted in 2. The power of eminent domain is exercised for public use, purpose or welfare, or for the benefit of the
technicality standing in the way of substantial justice. poor and the landless.

4. Whether or not the principle of res judicata is applicable to the present case.[18] 3. There is payment of just compensation, as required under Section 9, Article III of the Constitution,
and other pertinent laws.
As previously mentioned, the Court of Appeals affirmed in toto the trial courts Decision. Respondent
Court, in its assailed Resolution promulgated on January 8, 1997,[19] denied petitioners Motion for 4. A valid and definite offer has been previously made to the owner of the property sought to be
Reconsideration for lack of merit. expropriated, but said offer was not accepted.[27]

Hence, this appeal.[20] In the case at bar, the local chief executive sought to exercise the power of eminent domain pursuant
to a resolution of the municipal council. Thus, there was no compliance with the first requisite that the
The Issues mayor be authorized through an ordinance. Petitioner cites Camarines Sur vs. Court of Appeals[28] to
show that a resolution may suffice to support the exercise of eminent domain by an LGU.[29] This case,
Before this Court, petitioner posits two issues, viz.: however, is not in point because the applicable law at that time was BP 337,[30] the previous Local
Government Code, which had provided that a mere resolution would enable an LGU to exercise
1. A resolution duly approved by the municipal council has the same force and effect of an ordinance eminent domain. In contrast, RA 7160,[31] the present Local Government Code which was already in
and will not deprive an expropriation case of a valid cause of action. force when the Complaint for expropriation was filed, explicitly required an ordinance for this purpose.

2. The principle of res judicata as a ground for dismissal of case is not applicable when public interest is We are not convinced by petitioners insistence that the terms resolution and ordinance are
primarily involved.[21] synonymous. A municipal ordinance is different from a resolution. An ordinance is a law, but a
resolution is merely a declaration of the sentiment or opinion of a lawmaking body on a specific matter.
The Courts Ruling [32] An ordinance possesses a general and permanent character, but a resolution is temporary in
nature. Additionally, the two are enacted differently -- a third reading is necessary for an ordinance, but
The petition is not meritorious. not for a resolution, unless decided otherwise by a majority of all the Sanggunian members.[33]

First Issue: If Congress intended to allow LGUs to exercise eminent domain through a mere resolution, it would
have simply adopted the language of the previous Local Government Code. But Congress did not. In a
Resolution Different from an Ordinance clear divergence from the previous Local Government Code, Section 19 of RA 7160 categorically
requires that the local chief executive act pursuant to an ordinance. Indeed, [l]egislative intent is
Petitioner contends that a resolution approved by the municipal council for the purpose of initiating an determined principally from the language of a statute. Where the language of a statute is clear and
expropriation case substantially complies with the requirements of the law[22] because the terms unambiguous, the law is applied according to its express terms, and interpretation would be resorted to
ordinance and resolution are synonymous for the purpose of bestowing authority [on] the local only where a literal interpretation would be either impossible or absurd or would lead to an injustice.
government unit through its chief executive to initiate the expropriation proceedings in court in the [34] In the instant case, there is no reason to depart from this rule, since the law requiring an ordinance
exercise of the power of eminent domain.[23] Petitioner seeks to bolster this contention by citing is not at all impossible, absurd, or unjust.
Article 36, Rule VI of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code, which
provides: If the LGU fails to acquire a private property for public use, purpose, or welfare through Moreover, the power of eminent domain necessarily involves a derogation of a fundamental or private
purchase, the LGU may expropriate said property through a resolution of the Sanggunian authorizing right of the people.[35] Accordingly, the manifest change in the legislative language -- from resolution
its chief executive to initiate expropriation proceedings.[24] (Italics supplied.) under BP 337 to ordinance under RA 7160 -- demands a strict construction. No species of property is
held by individuals with greater tenacity, and is guarded by the Constitution and laws more sedulously,
The Court disagrees. The power of eminent domain is lodged in the legislative branch of government, than the right to the freehold of inhabitants. When the legislature interferes with that right and, for
which may delegate the exercise thereof to LGUs, other public entities and public utilities.[25] An LGU greater public purposes, appropriates the land of an individual without his consent, the plain meaning
may therefore exercise the power to expropriate private property only when authorized by Congress of the law should not be enlarged by doubtful interpretation.[36]
While the principle of res judicata does not denigrate the right of the State to exercise eminent domain,
Petitioner relies on Article 36, Rule VI of the Implementing Rules, which requires only a resolution to it does apply to specific issues decided in a previous case. For example, a final judgment dismissing an
authorize an LGU to exercise eminent domain. This is clearly misplaced, because Section 19 of RA expropriation suit on the ground that there was no prior offer precludes another suit raising the same
7160, the law itself, surely prevails over said rule which merely seeks to implement it.[37] It is issue; it cannot, however, bar the State or its agent from thereafter complying with this requirement, as
axiomatic that the clear letter of the law is controlling and cannot be amended by a mere prescribed by law, and subsequently exercising its power of eminent domain over the same property.
administrative rule issued for its implementation. Besides, what the discrepancy seems to indicate is a [48] By the same token, our ruling that petitioner cannot exercise its delegated power of eminent
mere oversight in the wording of the implementing rules, since Article 32, Rule VI thereof, also requires domain through a mere resolution will not bar it from reinstituting similar proceedings, once the said
that, in exercising the power of eminent domain, the chief executive of the LGU must act pursuant to legal requirement and, for that matter, all others are properly complied with. Parenthetically and by
an ordinance. parity of reasoning, the same is also true of the principle of law of the case. In Republic vs De Knecht,
[49] the Court ruled that the power of the State or its agent to exercise eminent domain is not
In this ruling, the Court does not diminish the policy embodied in Section 2, Article X of the diminished by the mere fact that a prior final judgment over the property to be expropriated has
Constitution, which provides that territorial and political subdivisions shall enjoy local autonomy. It become the law of the case as to the parties. The State or its authorized agent may still subsequently
merely upholds the law as worded in RA 7160. We stress that an LGU is created by law and all its exercise its right to expropriate the same property, once all legal requirements are complied with. To
powers and rights are sourced therefrom. It has therefore no power to amend or act beyond the rule otherwise will not only improperly diminish the power of eminent domain, but also clearly defeat
authority given and the limitations imposed on it by law. Strictly speaking, the power of eminent social justice.
domain delegated to an LGU is in reality not eminent but inferior domain, since it must conform to the
limits imposed by the delegation, and thus partakes only of a share in eminent domain.[38] Indeed, the WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED without prejudice to petitioners proper exercise of its power
national legislature is still the principal of the local government units, which cannot defy its will or of eminent domain over subject property. Costs against petitioner.
modify or violate it.[39]
SO ORDERED.
Complaint Does Not State a Cause of Action

In its Brief filed before Respondent Court, petitioner argues that its Sanguniang Bayan passed an
ordinance on October 11, 1994 which reiterated its Resolution No. 93-35, Series of 1993, and ratified all
the acts of its mayor regarding the subject expropriation.[40]

This argument is bereft of merit. In the first place, petitioner merely alleged the existence of such an
ordinance, but it did not present any certified true copy thereof. In the second place, petitioner did not
raise this point before this Court. In fact, it was mentioned by private respondent, and only in passing.
[41] In any event, this allegation does not cure the inherent defect of petitioners Complaint for
expropriation filed on September 23, 1993. It is hornbook doctrine that:

x x x in a motion to dismiss based on the ground that the complaint fails to state a cause of action, the
question submitted before the court for determination is the sufficiency of the allegations in the
complaint itself. Whether those allegations are true or not is beside the point, for their truth is
hypothetically admitted by the motion. The issue rather is: admitting them to be true, may the court
render a valid judgment in accordance with the prayer of the complaint?[42]

The fact that there is no cause of action is evident from the face of the Complaint for expropriation
which was based on a mere resolution. The absence of an ordinance authorizing the same is equivalent
to lack of cause of action. Consequently, the Court of Appeals committed no reversible error in
affirming the trial courts Decision which dismissed the expropriation suit.

Second Issue:

Eminent Domain Not Barred by Res Judicata

As correctly found by the Court of Appeals[43] and the trial court,[44] all the requisites for the
application of res judicata are present in this case. There is a previous final judgment on the merits in a
prior expropriation case involving identical interests, subject matter and cause of action, which has
been rendered by a court having jurisdiction over it.
SPOUSES JESUS L. CABAHUG AND CORONACION M. CABAHUG, Petitioners,
Be that as it may, the Court holds that the principle of res judicata, which finds application in generally vs.
all cases and proceedings,[45] cannot bar the right of the State or its agent to expropriate private NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION, Respondent.
property. The very nature of eminent domain, as an inherent power of the State, dictates that the right
to exercise the power be absolute and unfettered even by a prior judgment or res judicata. The scope DECISION
of eminent domain is plenary and, like police power, can reach every form of property which the State
might need for public use.[46] All separate interests of individuals in property are held of the PEREZ, J.:
government under this tacit agreement or implied reservation. Notwithstanding the grant to
individuals, the eminent domain, the highest and most exact idea of property, remains in the This Rule 45 Petition for Review on Certiorari seeks the reversal of (a) the 16 May 2007 Decision1
government, or in the aggregate body of the people in their sovereign capacity; and they have the rendered by the Eighteenth Division of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 67331 which
right to resume the possession of the property whenever the public interest requires it.[47] Thus, the reversed the 14 March 2000 Decision rendered by the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 17, Palompon,
State or its authorized agent cannot be forever barred from exercising said right by reason alone of Leyte, in Civil Case No. PN-0213 and ordered the dismissal of the complaint for just compensation tiled
previous non-compliance with any legal requirement. by petitioners Spouses Jesus L. Cabahug and Coronacion M. Cabahug (Spouses Cabahug) against
respondent National Power Corporation (NPC);2 and (b) the CA's Resolution dated 9 January 2009, obtaining in Gutierrez and that Section 3-A of RA 6395 only allows NPC to acquire an easement of right
denying the motion for reconsideration of the 16 May 2007 Decision for lack of merit.3 of way over properties traversed by its transmission lines,12 the CA succinctly ruled as follows:

The facts are not in dispute. Unfortunately, the Spouses Cabahug had already accepted the payment of easement fee, pursuant to
R.A. 6395, as amended, way back in 1996. Therefore, NPCs easement of right of way has for all legal
The Spouses Cabahug are the owners of two parcels of land situated in Barangay Capokpok, Tabango, intents and purposes, been established as far back as 1996. Since vested right has already accrued in
Leyte, registered in their names under Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) Nos. T-9813 and T-1599 of the favor of NPC, to allow the Spouses Cabahug to pursue this case when the easement of right of way had
Leyte provincial registry.4 They were among the defendants in Special Civil already been consummated would be in violation of the contract. The contracting parties, the Spouses
Cabahug and NPC had already conformed with the terms and conditions of the agreement. To allow the
Action No. 0019-PN, a suit for expropriation earlier filed by NPC before the RTC, in connection with its Spouses Cabahug to again collect from NPC payment of just compensation would amount to unjust
Leyte-Cebu Interconnection Project. The suit was later dismissed when NPC opted to settle with the enrichment at the expense of NPC and would sanction violation of the parties contract, which the
landowners by paying an easement fee equivalent to 10% of value of their property in accordance with Spouses Cabahug cannot do in the case at bench. Further, the award of attorneys fees and litigation
Section 3-A of Republic Act (RA) No. 6395.5 In view of the conflicting land values presented by the expenses and the costs of suit in favor of the Spouses Cabahug cannot be justified in the case at bar
affected landowners, it appears that the Leyte Provincial Appraisal Committee, upon request of NPC, since it appears that the complaint actually has no legal basis.13
fixed the valuation of the affected properties at P45.00 per square meter.6
The Spouses Cabahugs motion for reconsideration of the 16 May 2007 Decision14 was denied for lack
On 9 November 1996, Jesus Cabahug executed two documents denominated as Right of Way Grant in of merit in the CAs Resolution dated 9 January 2009. Hence, this petition for review on certiorari.15 In
favor of NPC. For and in consideration of the easement fees in the sums of P112,225.50 and urging the reversal of the CAs assailed Decision and Resolution, the Spouses Cabahug argue that the
P21,375.00, Jesus Cabahug granted NPC a continuous easement of right of way for the latters CA erred: (a) in disregarding paragraph 4 of the Grant of Right of Way whereby Jesus Cabahug reserved
transmissions lines and their appurtenances over 24,939 and 4,750 square meters of the parcels of the right to seek additional compensation for easement fee; and (b) in not applying this Courts ruling
land covered by TCT Nos. T-9813 and T-1599, respectively. By said grant, Jesus Cabahug agreed not to in Gutierrez case.16 In representation of NPC, on the other hand, the Office of the Solicitor General
construct any building or structure whatsoever, nor plant in any area within the Right of Way that will (OSG) argues that the sums paid in 1996 by way of easement fees represent the full amount allowed
adversely affect or obstruct the transmission line of NPC, except agricultural crops, the growth of which by law and agreed upon by the parties. Considering that Gutierrez concerned the payment of just
will not exceed three meters high. Under paragraph 4 of the grant, however, Jesus Cabahug reserved compensation for property expropriated by the NPC, the OSG maintains the CA did not err in according
the option to seek additional compensation for easement fee, based on the Supreme Courts 18 scant consideration to the Spouses Cabahugs invocation of the ruling in said case.17
January 1991 Decision in G.R. No. 60077, entitled National Power Corporation v. Spouses Misericordia
Gutierrez and Ricardo Malit, et al. (Gutierrez).7 We find the petition impressed with merit.

On 21 September 1998, the Spouses Cabahug filed the complaint for the payment of just The CA regarded the Grant of Right of Way executed by Jesus Cabahug in favor of NPC as a valid and
compensation, damages and attorneys fees against NPC which was docketed as Civil Case No. PN- binding contract between the parties, a fact affirmed by the OSG in its 8 October 2009 Comment to the
0213 before the RTC. Claiming to have been totally deprived of the use of the portions of land covered petition at bench.18 Given that the parties have already agreed on the easement fee for the portions of
by TCT Nos. T-9813 and T-1599, the Spouses Cabahug alleged, among other matters, that in the subject parcels traversed by NPCs transmissions lines, the CA ruled that the Spouses Cabahugs
accordance with the reservation provided under paragraph 4 of the aforesaid grant, they have attempt to collect further sums by way of additional easement fee and/or just compensation is violative
demanded from NPC payment of the balance of the just compensation for the subject properties which, of said contract and tantamount to unjust enrichment at the expense of NPC. As correctly pointed out
based on the valuation fixed by the Leyte Provincial Appraisal Committee, amounted to by the Spouses Cabahug, however, the CAs ruling totally disregards the fourth paragraph of the Grant
P1,202,404.50.8 In its answer, on the other hand, NPC averred that it already paid the full easement executed by Jesus Cabahug which expressly states as follows:
fee mandated under Section 3-A of RA 6395 and that the reservation in the grant referred to additional
compensation for easement fee, not the full just compensation sought by the Spouses Cabahug.9 That I hereby reserve the option to seek additional compensation for Easement Fee, based on the
Supreme Court Decision in G.R. No. 60077, promulgated on January 18, 1991, which jurisprudence is
Acting on the motion for judgment on the pleadings that was filed by the Spouses Cabahug, the RTC designated as "NPC vs. Gutierrez" case.19
went on to render a Decision dated 14 March 2000. Brushing aside NPCs reliance on Section 3-A of RA
6395, the RTC applied the ruling handed down by this Court in Gutierrez to the effect that NPCs From the foregoing reservation, it is evident that the Spouses Cabahugs receipt of the easement fee
easement of right of way which indefinitely deprives the owner of their proprietary rights over their did not bar them from seeking further compensation from NPC. Even by the basic rules in the
property falls within the purview of the power of eminent domain.10 As a consequence, the RTC interpretation of contracts, we find that the CA erred in holding that the payment of additional sums to
disposed of the complaint in the following wise: the Spouses Cabahug would be violative of the parties contract and amount to unjust enrichment.
Indeed, the rule is settled that a contract constitutes the law between the parties who are bound by its
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered for the Spouses Cabahug and against stipulations20 which, when couched in clear and plain language, should be applied according to their
NPC, ordering NPC: literal tenor.21 Courts cannot supply material stipulations, read into the contract words it does not
contain22 or, for that matter, read into it any other intention that would contradict its plain import.23
1. To pay the Spouses Cabahug the sum of ONE MILLION THREE HUNDRED THIRTY SIX THOUSAND and Neither can they rewrite contracts because they operate harshly or inequitably as to one of the parties,
FIVE PESOS (P1,336,005.00) together with the legal rate of interest thereon per annum reckoned from or alter them for the benefit of one party and to the detriment of the other, or by construction, relieve
January 3, 1997 less the amount previously paid by NPC to the Spouses Cabahug for easement fee one of the parties from the terms which he voluntarily consented to, or impose on him those which he
only; did not.24

2. To pay the Spouses Cabahug the sum equivalent to FIVE (5%) PERCENT of the amount mentioned in Considering that Gutierrez was specifically made the point of reference for Jesus Cabahugs reservation
the next preceding paragraph for attorneys fees; and to seek further compensation from NPC, we find that the CA likewise erred in finding that the ruling in
said case does not apply to the case at bench. Concededly, the NPC was constrained to file an
3. To pay the Spouses Cabahug the sum of TWENTY THOUSAND (P20,000.00) PESOS for actual expropriation complaint in Gutierrez due to the failure of the negotiations for its acquisition of an
damages and litigation expenses plus costs of the proceedings. easement of right of way for its transmission lines. The issue that was eventually presented for this
Courts resolution, however, was the propriety of making NPC liable for the payment of the full market
SO ORDERED.11 value of the affected property despite the fact that transfer of title thereto was not required by said
easement. In upholding the landowners right to full just compensation, the Court ruled that the power
Aggrieved by the foregoing decision, the NPC perfected the appeal which was docketed as CA-G.R. CV of eminent domain may be exercised although title is not transferred to the expropriator in an
No. 67331 before the CA which, on 16 May 2007, rendered the herein assailed decision, reversing and easement of right of way. Just compensation which should be neither more nor less than the money
setting aside the RTCs appealed decision. Finding that the facts of a case are different from those equivalent of the property is, moreover, due where the nature and effect of the easement is to impose
limitations against the use of the land for an indefinite period and deprive the landowner its ordinary full payment is made by petitioner. In accordance with jurisprudence, the legal interest allowed in
use. payment of just compensation for lands expropriated for public use is six percent (6%) per annum.32

Even without the reservation made by Jesus Cabahug in the Grant of Right of Way, the application of For want of a statement of the rationale for the award in the body of the RTCs 14 March 2000 Decision,
Gutierrez to this case is not improper as NPC represents it to be. Where the right of way easement, as we are constrained, however, to disallow the grant of attorneys fees in favor of the Spouses Cabahug
in this case, similarly involves transmission lines which not only endangers life and limb but restricts as in an amount equivalent to 5% of the just compensation due as well as the legal interest thereon.
well the owner's use of the land traversed thereby, the ruling in Gutierrez remains doctrinal and should Considered the exception rather than the general rule, the award of attorneys fees is not due every
be applied.25 It has been ruled that the owner should be compensated for the monetary equivalent of time a party prevails in a suit because of the policy that no premium should be set on the right to
the land if, as here, the easement is intended to perpetually or indefinitely deprive the owner of his litigate.33 The RTC's award of litigation expenses should likewise be deleted since, like attorney's fees,
proprietary rights through the imposition of conditions that affect the ordinary use, free enjoyment and the award thereof requires that the reasons or grounds therefor must be set forth in the decision of the
disposal of the property or through restrictions and limitations that are inconsistent with the exercise of court.34 This is particularly true in this case where the litigation expenses awarded were alternatively
the attributes of ownership, or when the introduction of structures or objects which, by their nature, categorized by the RTC as actual damages which, by jurisprudence, should be pleaded and adequately
create or increase the probability of injury, death upon or destruction of life and property found on the proved. Time and again, it has been ruled that the fact and amount of actual damages cannot be based
land is necessary.26 Measured not by the takers gain but the owners loss, just compensation is on speculation, conjecture or guess work, but must depend on actual proof.35
defined as the full and fair equivalent of the property taken from its owner by the
expropriator.271wphi1 WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is GRANTED and the CA's assailed 16 May 2007
Decision and 9 January 2009 Resolution are, accordingly, REVERSED and SET ASIDE. In lieu thereof,
Too, the CA reversibly erred in sustaining NPCs reliance on Section 3-A of RA 6395 which states that another is entered REINSTATING the RTC's 14 March 2000 Decision, subject to the MODIFICATION that
only 10% of the market value of the property is due to the owner of the property subject to an the awards of attorney's fees, actual damages and/or litigation expenses are DELETED.
easement of right of way. Since said easement falls within the purview of the power of eminent domain,
NPCs utilization of said provision has been repeatedly struck down by this Court in a number of SO ORDERED.
cases.28 The determination of just compensation in eminent domain proceedings is a judicial function
and no statute, decree, or executive order can mandate that its own determination shall prevail over
the court's findings.29 Any valuation for just compensation laid down in the statutes may serve only as
a guiding principle or one of the factors in determining just compensation, but it may not substitute the
court's own judgment as to what amount should be awarded and how to arrive at such amount.30
Hence, Section 3A of R.A. No. 6395, as amended, is not binding upon this Court.31

In this case, the Leyte Provincial Appraisal Committee fixed the valuation of the affected properties at
P45.00 per square meter at the instance of NPC. Considering that the installation of the latters
transmission lines amounted to the taking of 24,939 and 4,750 square meters from the parcels of land
covered by TCT Nos. T-9813 and T-1599 or a total of 29,689 square meters, the RTC correctly
determined that the Spouses Cabahug are entitled to P1,336,005.00 (29,689 x P45.00) by way of just
compensation for their properties. Inasmuch as NPC had already paid the sums of P112,225.50 and
P21,375.00 as easement fee, the sum of P133,600.50 should be deducted from P1,336,005.00 for a
remaining balance of P1,202,404.50. To this latter sum, the RTC also correctly imposed legal interest
since the Spouses Cabahug, as landowners, are entitled to the payment of legal interest on the
compensation for the subject lands from the time of the taking of their possession up to the time that