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Villanueva vs Castaneda

Villanueva vs Castaneda

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Published by Raymond Roque

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Published by: Raymond Roque on Oct 16, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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Villanueva vs CastanedaDate: September 21, 1987Petitioners: Felicidad Villanueva, Fernando Caisip, Antonio Liang, Felina Miranda, etalRespondents: Hon. Mariano Castaneda, Vicente MacalinoPonente: CruzFacts:On November 7, 1961, the municipal council of San Fernando adoptedResolution No. 218 authorizing some 24 members of the Fernandino UnitedMerchants and Traders Association to construct permanent stags and sell in the saidplace. A protest was filed and the CFI decided that the land occupied by thepetitioners, being public in nature, was beyond the commerce of man and thereforecould not be the subject of private occupancy. This decision was not enforced forthe petitioners were not evicted. In fact, the petitioners paid daily fees to themunicipal government.On January 12, 1982, the Association of Concerned Citizens and Consumersof San Fernando filed a petition for the immediate implementation of Resolution No.29, to restore the subject property "to its original and customary use as a publicplaza. Vicente Macalino (officer in charge in the office of the mayor) required themunicipal treasurer and engineer to demolish the stalls. Petitioners filed aprohibition with the CFI claiming that the disputed area was leased to them by themunicipal government. The CFI denied the petition/Issue:WON the petitioners have a right to the said landHeld:NoRatio:There is no question that the place occupied by the petitioners and fromwhich they are sought to be evicted is a public plaza pursuant to the previous case.It does not appear that the decision in this case was appealed or has been reversed.A public plaza is beyond the commerce of man and so cannot be the subjectof lease or any other contractual undertaking. This is elementary. Indeed, this pointwas settled as early as in Municipality of Cavite vs. Rojas, where the Court declaredas null and void the lease of a public plaza of the said municipality in favor of aprivate person. In Muyot vs. de la Fuente, it was held that the City of Manila couldnot lease a portion of a public sidewalk on Plaza Sta. Cruz, being likewise beyondthe commerce of man. We rule that the petitioners had no right in the first place tooccupy the disputed premises and cannot insist in remaining there now on thestrength of their alleged lease contracts. They should have realized and acceptedthis earlier, considering that even before case was decided, the municipal councilalready adopted Resolution No. 29, declaring the area as the parking place andpublic plaza of the municipality.It is the decision in Civil Case No. 2040 and the said resolution of themunicipal council of San Fernando that respondent Macalino was seeking to enforcewhen he ordered the demolition of the stags constructed in the disputed area. Asofficer-in-charge of the office of the mayor, he had the duty to clear the area andrestore it to its intended use as a parking place and public plaza of the municipalityof San Fernando, conformably to the orders from the court and the council. It is,

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