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Constitutional Law

Patrio T. Señeres Jr. Prof. Atty. Victor T. Tullaian

REPUBLIC VS CASTELVI
Case Digests [58 SCRA 336; G.R. No. L-20620; 15 Aug 1974]

Facts:

In 1947, the republic, through the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP),
entered into a lease agreement with Castelvi on a year-to-year basis. When Castelvi
gave notice to terminate the lease in 1956, the AFP refused. She then instituted an
ejectment proceeding against the AFP. In 1959, however, the republic commenced
the expropriation proceedings for the land.

Issue:

Whether or Not the compensation should be determined as of 1947 or 1959.

Held:

The Supreme Court ruled that the “taking” should not be reckoned as of 1947, and
that just compensation should not be determined on the basis of the value of the
property as of that year. The requisites for taking are: 1) the expropriator must enter a
private property, 2) the entry must be for more than a momentary period, 3) it must be
under warrant or color of authorities, 4) the property must be devoted for public
use or otherwise informally appropriated or injuriously affected, and 5) the utilization
of the property for public use must be such a way as to oust theowner and deprive him
of beneficial enjoyment of the property. Under Sec. 4 Rule 67 of the Rules of Court,
“just compensation” is to be determined as of the date of the filing of the complaint.

The Supreme Court has ruled that when the taking of the property sought to
be expropriated coincides with the commencement of the expropriation proceedings,
or takes place subsequent to the filing of the complaint for eminent domain, the just
compensation should be determined as of the date of the filing of the complaint. In the
instant case, it is undisputed that the Republic was placed in possession of the
Castelvi property, by authority of court, on August 10, 1959.

The “taking” of the Castelvi property for the purposes of determining the just
compensation to be paid must, therefore, be reckoned as of June 26, 1959 when the
complaint for eminent domain was filed. There is no basis to the contention of the
Republic that a lease on a year-to-year basis can give rise to permanent right to
occupy since by express provision a lease made for a determinate time, as was the
lease of Castelvi land in the instant case, ceases upon the day fixed, without need of a
demand (Art. 1669, New Civil Code). The Supreme Court, however, did not apply
Art. 1250 of the New Civil Code for the adjustment of the peso rate in times of
extraordinary inflation or deflation because in eminent domain cases the obligation to
pay arises from law independent of contract.