Expropriation Cases

August 8, 2017 | Author: Prelle Dacanay | Category: Eminent Domain, Just Compensation, Property, Easement, Ownership
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CASE DIGEST on Expropriation (From my consti 2 class, last semester at New Era University)...



CASE DIGEST: 1 part 1.


Visayan Refining Company et. al vs. Camus et. al G.R. No. L-15870

Republic vs. Tagle

Facts: Helena Benitez is a registered owner of 2 parcels of land in Bgy. Salwag, Dasmarinas, Cavite. Sometime in Sept. 1982, the Philippine Government, through the Philippine Human Resources Development Center (PHRDC), an agency under the Ministry of Human Settlements, negotiated with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Survey Team on technicalities of the establishment of ASEAN Human Resources Development Project in the Philippines. Among the the 5 main programs of the proposed project was the Construction Manpower Development Center(CMDC), an agency now under the Department of Trade and Industry. Several transaction and agreements were entered into between Benitez (together with Philippine Women’s University) and the PHRDC with regards to the lease and consequently, the possible sale of the land which did not push through because of Benitez’s desistance. Thereafter, Benitez and PWU demanded from PHRDC the payment of rentals and to vacate the premises. Benitez later filed an unlawful detainer case against PHRDC. In turn, the state through DTI (with GMA as undersecretary), to which CMDF is attached instituted a complaint for Eminent Domain, pursuant to EO 1935. In compliance with Section 2, Rule 67 of the Rules of Court, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 42, DTI deposited with PNB in favor of Benitez P708,490 an amount equivalent to the provisional value of the land sought to be expropriated. Subsequently, DTI filed a Motion for Issuance of Writ of Possession which had been granted but subsequently quashed by MTC Judge Tagle. Issue: Whether Judge Tagle may quash a writ of possession on the ground that the expropriating government agency is already occupying the property sought to be expropriated. Held: No. Under Section 7 of EO 1035, when the government or its authorized agent makes the required deposit, the trial court has a ministerial duty to issue a writ of possession. The expropriation of real property does not include mere physical entry or occupation of land. Although eminent domain usually involves a taking of title, there may also be compensable taking of only some, not all, of the property interests in the bundle of rights that constitute ownership. In the instant case, it is manifest that the petitioner, in pursuit of an objective beneficial to public interest, seeks to realize the same through its power of eminent domain. In exercising this power, petitioner intended to acquire not only physical possession but also the legal right to possess and ultimately to own the subject property. Hence, its mere physical entry and occupation of the property fall short of the taking of title, which includes all the rights that may be exercised by an owner over the subject property.

FACTS: Upon the direction of the Governor-General, the Attorney-General filed a complaint with the CFI (Rizal) in the name of the Government of the Philippines for the condemnation of a certain tract of land in Paranaque for military and aviation purposes. The petitioners herein are among the defendants named. Likewise, it was prayed that the court will give the Government the possession of the land to be expropriated after the necessary deposit (provisional) of P600, 000.00 as the total value of the property. Through the order of the public respondent, Judge Camus, the prayer was granted. During the pendency of the proceedings, the petitioners raised a demurrer questioning the validity of the proceedings on the ground that there is no law authorizing the exercise of the power of eminent domain. Likewise, they moved for the revocation of the order on the same ground stated and with additional allegation that the deposit had been made without authority of law since the money was taken from the unexpended balance of the funds appropriated by previous statutes for the use of the Militia Commission and the authority for the exercise of the power of eminent domain could not be found in those statutes. The demurrer and motion were overruled and denied respectively by Camus. This prompted the petitioners to file this instant petition to stop the proceedings in the CFI. ISSUE: Can the Philippine Government initiate expropriation proceedings in the absence of a statute authorizing the exercise of the power of eminent domain? RULING: Yes, it can. The Philippine Government has the general authority to exercise the power of eminent domain as expressly conferred by Section 63 of the Philippine Bill (Act of Congress of July 1, 1902). It says that the Philippine Government is authorized “to acquire, receive, hold, maintain, and convey title to real and personal property, and may acquire real estate for public uses by the exercise of the right to eminent domain.― The same is subject to the limitation of due process of law. In consonance with this, Section 64 of the Administrative Code of the Philippine Islands (Act No. 2711) expressly confers on the Government General the power “to determine when it is necessary or advantageous to exercise the right of eminent domain in behalf of the Government of the Philippine Island; and to direct the Attorney-General, where such at is deemed advisable, to cause the condemnation proceedings to be begun in the court having proper jurisdiction.― There is no question as to the Governor General’s authority to exercise this power. However, this authority is not absolute. It is subject to two limitations, namely, that the taking shall be for public purpose and there must be just compensation. Apparently, the reason behind the taking of the subject land was for military and aviation purposes. This considered a public purpose given the importance of the military and aviation in the operation of the State.


As to the second requirement, it must be remembered that at that time there was no law requiring that compensation shall actually be paid prior to the judgment of condemnation. The deposit was made, despite the absence of said law, to afford absolute assurance that no piece of land can be finally and irrevocably taken from an unwilling owner until compensation is paid. This is in conformity with the just compensation requirement. 3.

CITY OF MANILA VS. CHINESE COMMUNITY [40 Phil 349; No. 14355; 31 Oct 1919] Facts: The City of Manila, plaintiff herein, prayed for the expropriation of a portion private cemetery for the conversion into an extension of Rizal Avenue. Plaintiff claims that it is necessary that such public improvement be made in the said portion of the privatecemetery and that the said lands are within their jurisdiction. 4.

Defendants herein answered that the said expropriation was notnecessary because other routes were available. They further claimed that the expropriation of the cemetery would create irreparable loss and injury to them and to all those persons owing and interested in the graves and monuments that would have to be destroyed. The lower court ruled that the said public improvement was notnecessary on the particular-strip of land in question. Plaintiff herein assailed that they have the right to exercise the power of eminent domain and that the courts have no right to inquire and determine the necessity of the expropriation. Thus, the same filed an appeal. Issue: Whether or not the courts may inquire into, and hear proof of the necessity of the expropriation. Held: The courts have the power of restricting the exercise ofeminent domain to the actual reasonable necessities of the case and for the purposes designated by the law. The moment the municipal corporation or entity attempts to exercise the authority conferred, it must comply with the conditions accompanying the authority. The necessity for conferring the authority upon a municipal corporation to exercise the right of eminent domain is admittedly within the power of the legislature. But whether or not the municipal corporation or entity is exercising the right in a particular case under the conditionsimposed by the general authority, is a question that the courts have the right to inquire to. 5. 6. 7.



GR # 152230 August 9, 2005 (Constitutional Law – Eminent Domain, Expropriation, Valid and Definite Offer) FACTS: Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s decision of declaring respondent municipality (now city) as having the right to expropriate petitioner’s property for the construction of an access road. Petitioner argues that there was no valid and definite offer made before a complaint for eminent domain was filed as the law requires (Art. 35, Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code). Respondent contends that a letter to purchase was offered to the previous owners and the same was not accepted. ISSUE: Whether or not a letter to purchase is sufficient enough as a definite and valid offer to expropriate. HELD: No. Failure to prove compliance with the mandatory requirement of a valid and definite offer will result in the dismissal of the complaint. The purpose of the mandatory requirement to be first made to the owner is to encourage settlements and voluntary acquisition of property needed for public purposes in order to avoid the expense and delay of a court of action.

9. People v Fajardo G.R. No. L-12172 August 29, 1958 Facts: Fajardo was mayor in Baao, Camrines Sur when the municipal council passed the ordinancethat prohibits the construction of a building that blocks the view of the town plaza. Moreover, it redirects the grant of permission to the mayor. After his incumbency, Fajardo applied for a permit to build a building beside the gasoline station near the town plaza. His request was repeatedly denied. He continued with theconstruction under the rationale that he needed a house to stay in because the old one was destroyed by a typhoon. He was convicted and ordered to pay a fine and demolish the building due to its obstructing view. He appealed to the CA, which in turn forwarded the petition due to the question of the ordinance’s constitutionality. Issue: Is the ordinance constitutional? Held: No. The ordinance doesn’t state any standard that limits the grant of power to the mayor. It is an arbitrary and unlimited conferment. Ordinances which thus invest a city council with a discretion which is purely arbitrary, and which may be exercised in the interest of a favored few, are unreasonable and invalid. Theordinance should have established a rule by which its impartial


enforcement could be secured. All of the authorities cited above sustain this conclusion. The ordinance is unreasonable and oppressive, in that it operates to permanently deprive appellants of the right to use their own property; hence, it oversteps the bounds of police power, and amounts to a taking of appellants property without just compensation. While property may be regulated to the interest of the general welfare, and the state may eliminate structures offensive to the sight, the state may not permanently divest owners of the beneficial use of their property and practically confiscate them solely to preserve or assure the aesthetic appearance of the community. Fajardo would be constrained to let the land be fallow and not be used for urban purposes. To do this legally, there must be just compensation and they must be given an opportunity to be heard. An ordinance which permanently so restricts the use of property that it can not be used for any reasonable purpose goes, it is plain, beyond regulation and must be recognized as a taking of the property. The validity was also refuted by the Admin Code which states: SEC. 2243. Certain legislative powers of discretionary character. — The municipal council shall have authority to exercise the following discretionary powers: xxx xxx xxx (c) To establish fire limits in populous centers, prescribe the kinds of buildings that may be constructed 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 permit and one peso for each repair permit issued. The fees collected under the provisions of this subsection shall accrue to the municipal school fund. Since, there was 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 within them before it passed the ordinance in question, it is clear that said ordinance was not conceived and promulgated under the express authority of sec. 2243 (c) 10. NAPOCOR v. Gutierrez, 193 SCRA 1 (1991) Facts: For the construction of its 230 KV Mexico-Limay transmission lines, Napocor''s lines have to pass the lands belonging to respondents. Unsuccessful with its negotiations for the acquisition of the right of way easements, Napocor was constrained to file eminent domain proceedings. ISSUE: W/N petitoner should be made to pay simple easement fee or full compensation for the land traversed by its transmissin lines. RULING: In RP v. PLDT, the SC ruled that "Normally, the power of eminent domain results in the taking or appropriation of the title to, and possession of, the expropriated property, but no cogent reason appears why said power may not be availed of to impose only a burrden upon the owner of the condemned property,

without loss of title or possession. It is unquestionable that real property may, through expropriation, be subjected to an easement of right of way." In this case, the easement is definitely a taking under the power of eminent domain. Considering the nature and effect of the installation of the transmission lines, the limitations imposed by the NPC against the use of the land (that no plant higher than 3 meters is allowed below the lines) for an indefinite period deprives private respondents of ts ordinary use. [35] In National Power Corporation v. Gutierrez, the petitioner likewise argued that it should only be made to pay easement fees instead of the full market value of the land traversed by its transmission lines. In striking down its argument and ruling that the property owners were entitled to the full market value of the land in question, we ruled: x x x While it is true that plaintiff [is] only after a right-of-way easement, it nevertheless perpetually deprives defendants of their proprietary rights as manifested by the imposition by the plaintiff upon defendants that below said transmission lines no plant higher than three (3) meters is allowed. Furthermore, because of the hightension current conveyed through said transmission lines, danger to life and limbs that may be caused beneath said wires cannot altogether be discounted, and to cap it all, plaintiff only pays the fee to defendants once, while the latter shall continually pay [36] the taxes due on said affected portion of their property. Similarly, in this case, while respondent spouses could still utilize the area beneath NAPOCOR’s transmission lines provided that the plants to be introduced [37] underneath would not exceed three meters, danger is posed to the lives and limbs of respondents’ farm workers, such that the property is no longer suitable for [38] agricultural production. Considering the nature and effect of the Davao-Manat 138 KV transmission lines, the limitation imposed by NAPOCOR perpetually deprives respondents of the ordinary use of their land. Moreover, we have ruled that Section 3A of R.A. No. 6395, as amended, is [39] not binding upon this Court. “[T]he determination of just compensation in eminent domain cases is a judicial function and . . . 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 [40] to what amount should be awarded and how to arrive at such amount.” We therefore rule that NAPOCOR is liable to pay respondents the full market value of the affected property as determined by the court a quo. 11. REPUBLIC VS. VDA. DE CASTELLVI FACTS: After the owner of a parcel of land that has been rented and occupied by the government in 1947 refused to extend the lease, the latter commenced expropriation proceedings in 1959. During the assessment of just compensation, the government


argued that it had taken the property when the contract of lease commenced and not when the proceedings begun. The owner maintains that the disputed land was not taken when the government commenced to occupy the said land as lessee because the essential elements of the “taking” of property under the power of eminent domain, namely (1) entrance and occupation by condemnor upon the private property for more than a momentary period, and (2) devoting it to a public use in such a way as to oust the owner and deprive him of all beneficial enjoyment of the property, are not present. ISSUE: Whether or not the taking of property has taken place when the condemnor has entered and occupied the property as lesse. HELD: No, the property was deemed taken only when the expropriation proceedings commenced in 1959. The essential elements of the taking are: (1) Expropriator must enter a private property, (2) for more than a momentary period, (3) and under warrant of legal authority, (4) devoting it to public use, or otherwise informally appropriating or injuriously affecting it in such a way as (5) substantially to oust the owner and deprive him of all beneficial enjoyment thereof. In the case at bar, these elements were not present when the government entered and occupied the property under a contract of lease. 12. LEONCIO SEÑA Y MEDINA vs. THE MANILA RAILROAD COMPANY and THE

INSULAR GOVERNMENT FACTS: Pursuant to the provisions of Act No. 648, Executive Order No. 112 was issued which reserved "for railroad purposes" a strip of land 30 meters from the municipality of Lucena to the municipality of Caluag, Province of Tayabas. With regard to this, the Judge of the Court of First Instance of the Province of Tayabas issued a notice stating that claims for all private lands, buildings, and interests therein must be presented in said court for registration within six months and if not, will be conclusively adjudged to be public lands. The petitioner herein presented a motion in the Court of First Instance asking that said Executive Order No. 112 be declared unconstitutional and that the proceedings thereunder be dismissed alleging that the Governor-General had no authority to reserve private property and even if he had such authority, he was not authorized to reserve the same for railroad purposes. ISSUE: WON Executive Order No. 112 is a valid exercise of the power of eminent domain.

RULING: Yes. In said executive order, the Governor General did not reserve any private property but only "all public lands included within the limits described". Indeed, it was expressly ordered that "all private lands or interests therein within the limits described, ought forthwith to be brought within the operation of 'The Land Registration Act,' and to become registered land within the meaning of said 'The Land Registration Act,' in pursuance of the provisions of Act No. 627 of the Philippine Commission." It is clear, then, that it was not attempted by said executive order to appropriate private property without compensation and without due process of law and it cannot be denied that a railroad is a public necessity in this country — a factor indispensable to its economic development and material welfare. It is in recognition of this fact that railroad corporations are empowered by law to exercise the right of eminent domain.


14. Heirs of Juancho Ardona v. Reyes 123 SCRA 220 Facts: The Philippine Tourism Authority sought the expropriation of 282 Ha of land in Barangay Malubog and Babag in Cebu City. upon deposit of an amount equivalent to 10% of the value of the property, the CFI authorized the PTA to take immediate possession of the property. The charter of the PTA authorizes it to acquire through condemnation proceedings lands for tourist zone development of a sports complex. The petitioners who are occupants of the lands, filed a petition for certiorari in the SC. They contended that (1) the taking was not for public use; (2) the land was covered by the land reform program; and (3) expropriation would impair the obligation of contracts. ISSUE: Whether or not a development of a sport complex is under the concept of public use? HELD: Yes. The concept of public use is not limited to traditional purposes for the construction of roads, bridges, and the like. The idea that "public use" means "use by the public" has been discarded. As long as the purpose of the taking is public, then the power of eminent domain comes into play. It is accurate to state then that at present whatever may be beneficially employed for the general welfare satisfies the requirement of public use. The petititioners have not shown that the area being developed is land reform area and that the affected persons have been given emancipation patents and certificates of land transfer. The contract clause has never been regarded as a barrier to the exercise of the police power and likewise eminent domain. 15.



CASE DIGEST: 2 part 27. MERALCO v. Pineda; 206 SCRA 196 Facts: MERALCO filed a complaint for expropriation of the lots of the private respondents. While the case was going on and before the appointment of the Board of Commissioners to value the land, the private respondents filed a motion to withdraw a portion of the deposit of MERALCO. This was granted by Judge Pineda; MERALCO objected, contending that this cannot be done since the Board of Commissioners was not yet constituted, and allowing such is a deprivation of its property without due process of law. Judge Pineda maintained that he can dispense with the Board and adopt the testimony of a credible real estate broker, or he could exercise himself the right to decide the just compensation to be paid to the owners of the land. Issue: Can the court order payment of just compensation before appraisal and valuation of the property by a Board of Commissioners? Ruling: Negative. Although it is true that the judge may disregard the findings of the commissioners and substitute his own estimate of the value of the land, he may only do so for a valid reason, e.g. where the Commissioners have applied illegal principles to the evidence submitted to them or where they have disregarded a clear preponderance of evidence, or where the amount allowed is either grossly inadequate or excessive. But the composition of the Board of Commissioners is mandatory. A trial before the Commissioners is indispensable to allow the parties to present evidence on the issue of just compensation. The lot owners must prove the value of the land by evidence. On the other hand, MERALCO must be given an opportunity to rebut any evidence presented by lot owners. 28. Manotok v. NHA 150 SCRA 89 (1987) Facts: Petitioners are the owners of two large estates known as the Tambunting Estate and Sunog-Apog in Tondo, Manila, both of which were declared expropriated in two decrees issued by President Marcos, PD 1669 and PD 1670. The petitioners contend that the decrees violate their constitutional right to due process and equal protection since by their mere passage their properties were automatically expropriated and they were immediately deprived of the ownership and possession thereof without being given the chance to oppose such expropriation. The government on the other hand contends that the power of eminent domain is inherent in the State and when the legislature or the President through his lawmaking powers exercises this power, the public use and public necessity of the expropriation and the fixing of the just compensation become political in nature and the courts must respect the decision. HELD: The challenged decrees are unfair in the procedures adopted and the powers given to the NHA. The Tambunting subdivision is summarily proclaimed a blighted area and directly expropriated by decree without the slightest semblance of a hearing or any proceeding whatsoever. The expropriation is instant and automatic to take


effect immediately upon the signing of the decree. 29. Municipality of Parańaque vs V.M. Realty Corporation: G.R. No. 127820; July 20, 1998 Facts: Pursuant to Sangguniang Bayan Resolution No. 93-95, Series of 1993, the Municipality of Parañaque filed a Complaint for expropriation against V.M. Realty Corporation, over two parcels of land. Allegedly, the complaint was filed “for the purpose of alleviating the living conditions of the underprivileged by providing homes for the homeless through a socialized housing project.” Petitioner, pursuant to its Sangguniang Bayan Resolution No. 577, Series of 1991, previously made an offer to enter into a negotiated sale of the property with private respondent, which the latter did not accept. The RTC authorized petitioner to take possession of the subject property upon its deposit with the clerk of court of an amount equivalent to 15% of its fair market value. Private Respondent filed an answer alleging that (a) the complaint failed to state a cause of action because it was filed pursuant to a resolution and not to an ordinance as required by RA 7160; and (b) the cause of action, if any, was barred by a prior judgment or res judicata. On private respondent’s motion, its answer was treated as a motion to dismiss. The trial court dismissed the complaint Issue: Whether the LGU can exercise its power of eminent domain pursuant to a resolution by its law-making body. Held: Under Section 19, of the present Local Government Code (RA 7160), it is stated as the first requisite that LGUs can exercise its power of eminent domain if there is an ordinance enacted by its legislative body enabling the municipal chief executive. A resolution is not an ordinance, the former is only an opinion of a law-making body, the latter is a law. The case cited by Petitioner involves BP 337, which was the previous Local Government Code, which is obviously no longer in effect. RA 7160 prevails over the Implementing Rules, the former being the law itself and the latter only an administrative rule which cannot amend the former.


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