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Republic of the Philippines v.

Heirs of Saturnino Borbon


GR 165354; 12 January 2015
J. Bersamin

Facts:
1. The National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR), a GOCC, is vested with
the authority to undertake development of hydroelectric power and
supply such to inhabitants of the country under Republic Act No. 6395.
2. NAPOCOR entered a property in Batangas to construct and maintain
transmission lines. Respondents were the owners of the said property
(14,257 sqm)
3. NAPOCOR instituted expropriation proceedings, seeking to acquire
easement rights over 6,236 sqm of the property. It alleged that the
negotiation with the respondents fell through and it was willing to
deposit Php 9,790 as the assessed amount of the property sought to
be expropriated
4. Respondents filed a motion to dismiss on grounds that there were no
negotiations and that the entry of NAPOCOR resulted to damages to
their property. They sought to be compensated Php 1000/sqm for the
property.
5. The RTC appointed a panel of commissioners to appraise the property.
They assessed the property at Php 550/sqm. One of the commissioners
recommend the payment of an easement fee of 10% of the assessed
value.
6. RTC adopted the recommendations of the commissioners. CA affirmed.
7. During the pendency of the appeal, NAPOCOR filed a motion to
discontinue expropriation proceedings as the transmission lines were
no longer of use (retirement of lines) and as such there was no longer a
public purpose for it.

Issue: Whether expropriation proceeding may be discontinued in case public


purpose of a property ceases to exist during its pendency.

Held: Yes it may cease subject to just and equitable terms.

Ratio: The right of eminent domain is the ultimate right of the sovereign
power to appropriate, not only the public but the private property of all
citizens within the territorial sovereignty, to public purpose. The exercise of
such right is limited by two mandatory requirements; (1) that it is for a
particular public purpose; and (2) that just compensation be paid to the
property owner. Public use has now been held to be synonymous with public
interest, public benefit, and public convenience. This element must exist
throughout the proceedings for expropriation as it is the fundamental basis
for the action for expropriation.
However, NAPOCOR entered the property without the owners consent and
without paying just compensation to the respondents. Neither did it deposit
any amount as required by law prior to its entry. The Constitution is explicit
in obliging the Government and its entities to pay just compensation before
depriving any person of his property for public use. Hence, NAPOCOR must
pay the respondents for the disturbance of their property rights either as
actual or compensatory damages.